The energetic city of Seoul offers numerous festivals that enliven the city life all year round. These include the Seoul Rose Festival and Seoul Spring Flower Festival, both celebrating the city’s colorful flowers, the exciting and fun-filled Seoul Gugak Music Festival and Yeowoorak Festival, as well as the Royal Culture Festival, an event to experience the history and culture of Korean palaces.

    The Water Gun Festival brings out the child in you, while the Gang Gamchan Festival commemorates the national heroes that must not be forgotten. The Seoul Fringe Festival, which is open for participation by all artists, is one of most loved summer events in the city. Check out our guide to Seoul celebrations you won’t find anywhere else.

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    Seoul Rose Festival

    See the longest rose tunnel in South Korea

    Flower festivals delight the sense of sight and smell, which is why they are loved by people the world over. But did you know that there is a flower festival you can check out in the center of Seoul? This festival is none other than the Seoul Rose Festival held in Jungnang-gu, Seoul. This festival creates the nation’s longest rose tunnel, which continues for over 5 km, and enables you to enjoy not only beautiful roses but also various cultural performances right here in the city centre. There are also many other cultural events that people can enjoy and create together, such as a rose parade and a painting contest.

    Visit the Rose Festival, which is held every May, to become intoxicated in the scents of flowers and, even, start conversations with them while enjoying a stroll along Jungnangcheon Stream! The fact that you can enjoy gorgeous flowers for free is terrific but, since it is extremely packed with visitors on weekends, we recommend you to come by in the morning on a weekday. Take stunning pictures in the midst of flowers as well!

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    Seoul Gugak Festival

    Festival where you can thoroughly immerse yourself in traditional music

    The Seoul Gugak Festival is a 2-day event where you can enjoy melodious traditional tunes in Seoul. A festival that covers the past, present and future of Korean traditional music unfolds in such places as Marronnier Park in Daehak-ro, a symbol of Seoul’s performance culture; Seongsu-dong, a trendy attraction for youngsters; Apgujeong Rodeo Street, the center of freedom; Banpo Hangang Park that offers a chance to experience the city’s waterfront culture; and Seokchon Lake in Jamsil that has become a place for relaxation and a cultural enjoyment space.

    Various stages are in store for the audience including a stage created by teachers and students together; Hojeok Pungryu centered on Taepyeongso, which makes the loudest sound among traditional instruments; a hip fusion stage that breaks barriers between tradition and modernity; and the most exciting gugak stages of our time. Check out the schedule and give yourselves a chance to soak in the traditional music.

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    Royal Culture Festival

    A festival with special stories from within the palace

    The Royal Culture Festival is the nation's largest cultural heritage festival taking place at some of our most famous cultural heritage sites from Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Deoksugung, Changgyeonggung and Gyeonghuigung Palaces to Jongmyo Shrine and Sajikdan. The festival offers tourists culture and arts programs based on the spatial characteristics and historicity of these old palaces. Preserving the nation’s history and traditional culture and forming harmony with nature, the festival consists of various programs that mix traditional culture, which is based on the spatial characteristics and historicity of royal palaces, with today's culture that has been recreated in ingenious ways.

    Such programs include exhibitions and experience programs, planned performances created with royal palaces in the background, reproduced performances to promulgate and preserve ancient rituals, Royal Culture Festival for children, experience programs in which anyone may participate, and online-centred contactless contents. Check the schedule and choose a festival you wish to attend to experience royal palace culture.

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    photo by Republic of Korea (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival

    An event where you can experience Seoul, the ancient capital of 2,000 years

    Let us introduce you to the Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival of Songpa-gu, Seoul where you can check out re-enacted history and culture with your own eyes! The Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival is an experiential historical and cultural festival that allows you to feel the history and culture from the early Baekje Dynasty. A variety of programs have been prepared to give you a chance to experience Hanseong Baekje, from the Baekje Experience Village that has accurately recreated Baekje, history and culture street processions, soul fire lighting ceremony, and the Dongmyeongje Festival. It is an open festival for all so there is no admissions fee or participation fee. However, please note that, considering the nature of certain programs taking place in the experience corner, there is a small experience fee.

    Events of the festival are held at different times in various locations including Olympic Park, Seokchon Lake, Pungnap Baekje Cultural Park, and Seokchon-dong Ancient Tombs. Check out the schedule and participate in the events you are interested in to enjoy great cultural experiences.

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    photo by Steve46814 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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    Yeouido Spring Flower Festival

    A festival to satisfy your eyes and ears with colorful spring flowers

    Every April when the warm spirits of spring are felt, many places around the country host their own spring flower festivals. Among them, the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival is the one that cannot be missed. The Yeouido Spring Flower Festival presents a spring orchestra with the vast Hangang River in the backdrop, delighting our eyes with over 88,000 fully blossomed spring flowers of 13 species including azaleas, forsythia, and poplars as well as 1,886 king cherry trees originating from Jeju-do.

    The flower festival is a culture and arts festival overflowing with things to see and enjoy, which makes it great for outings of families, friends and lovers. Although it is nice to enjoy during the day, nighttime is when you can really feel the unique beauty as beautiful flowers form quite a spectacle with the nightscape of the Hangang River. Enjoy the fully bloomed spring flowers at the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival as well as a variety of performances to delight your eyes and ears.

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    Seoul Fringe Festival

    Festival where you can get a glimpse of unconstrained, diverse performances

    Artists who have just performed on stage are now seated in the audience section of a stage next door to shout and cheer as fans. There is a festival with such freedom and absence of boundaries, literally for everyone without any format, restrictions or standard. This is the Seoul Fringe Festival. This festival is an alternate cultural festival where you can get a glimpse of unconstrained imagination and the experimental spirits of various artists. Whether you are an amateur or a professional arts group, submission of a simple application will allow anyone to freely participate in the festival.

    The Seoul Fringe Festival is also Korea's largest independent arts festival where over 500 artists from 50 teams throughout Asia attend each year to showcase many different creative works of play, dance, music and video, regardless of genre. The festival also features programs in which visitors may participate in so check them out and be a part of a program that will awaken the artistic sensitivity in you.

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    Yeoworak Festival

    A festival with music unique to us

    Seoul has a music festival that can only be experienced in the city and is not found anywhere else in the world. It is none other than the Yeoworak Festival where various genres of art including gugak come together to present stages with novel performances.

    Yeoworak is a Korean acronym for "Yeogi Woori Eumagi Itda," which means, "Here is our music." It is a music festival held every July with the goal of presenting music that is based on Korean traditional music and to which the global audience may respond to. The festival presents not only Korean traditional tunes but also music of many different genres of the present era, receiving great positive feedback. The average seat occupancy stands at a whopping 93%. The festival also hosts other events such as collaboration among pansori, kinetic LED and media art, collaboration between bands and gugak groups, and performances that reinterpret traditional fairy tales. Try to feel music anew at the Yeoworak Festival.

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    Sinchon Water Gun Festival

    Hours of coolness and thrill of summer

    The Sinchon Water Gun Festival is an extremely cool festival featuring a variety of activities, large-scale parades and exciting concerts with which you can beat the scorching summer heat. This downtown water gun festival, which has been held every July since 2013, takes place on Yonsei-ro in Sinchon, Seoul, with the goal of making Korea more fun and joyful. A super-large water slide is set up on the central street of Sinchon taking people of all ages back to their childhood while shooting water guns at one another. During the festival period, Yonsei-ro turns into a water festival site and in turn serves as a summer vacation spot in downtown Seoul. Anyone can take part in the festival regardless of race, language or region.

    Each year brings a very unique idea and theme, and there's no admissions fee. Forget the heat at the Sinchon Water Gun Festival and relive your childhood and have fun.

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    photo by Republic of Korea (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    Seoul Lantern Festival

    A festival with healing and stories in city forests

    The Seoul Lantern Festival, which has been held in Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon Stream every year since the Year of Visit Korea in 2009, is the city’s famous winter festival that exhibits various media and LED sculptures primarily featuring lanterns made of Korean traditional paper called hanji. The festival takes place on a 1.2 km-long street from Cheonggye Plaza to Supyogyo Bridge and it is said that over 2 million people visit the festival each year.

    Along Cheonggyecheon Stream, artistic lanterns of various shapes and forms are lined up exuding gorgeous lights to create quite a spectacle. The view at night is quite a fabulous sight to see. Enjoy the colorful lanterns made of hanji with the hopes and wishes to recover the vibrancy in your lives.

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    Gwanak Gang Gamchan Festival

    A festival for heroes with history

    Eulji Mundeok, Admiral Yi Sun-sin, and General Gang Gam-chan are generally lauded as the three great national salvation heroes. However, more people than you think don't really know about Gang Gam-chan, the general who defended the country from the Khitan during the Goryeo Dynasty a thousand years ago. The Gwanak Gang Gamchan Festival is one of the notable historical and cultural festivals of Seoul hosted by Gwanak-gu to commemorate the patriotic spirits and achievements of historical hero General Gang Gam-chan, the champion of the Battle of Guiju.

    The festival includes various events that can be enjoyed both online and offline, from an online writing contest, online art contest and online photography to debates and discussions as well as many other events in which residents can participate in freely. Take part in the Gang Gamchan Festival and spend some time to look back in history and pay tribute to the heroes who protected the country centuries ago.

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