Unveiling the Mask Dance Festival in Andong in South Korea

Andong-Mask-Festival

The weather couldn’t have been more agreeable for a day trip to Andong. Subsequently, I wish so many other people didn’t have the same idea. What should have been a 75-minute drive turned into nearly 3 hours from the door to the festival entrance. However, admission into the fairgrounds is entirely free. And although I missed the main event, I went, and I’m still glad I did. The Andong Mask Dance Festival is an exciting experience for ex-pats to experience.

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Andong Mask Dance Festival

First, this year’s festival is October 2- 9, 2023. And as always, dozens of vendors are hawking everything from sneakers to kitchen spoons to soaps and perfumes. In addition, visitors can find all the staples– fresh and dried fish, octopus, and silkworms. Incidentally, there were the things we’re more familiar with at fairs… gyros, ice cream, and cotton candy. And it’s all there as soon as you enter the fairgrounds. Fresh fruits and vegetables bake under the intense sun. However, there are also nuts, spices, and berries for the less adventurous. And something resembling rice crispy treats forms tall towers, easily toppled by unsteady hands.

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Festival Venues

 

The festival consisted of several venues; tents, stages, and a large auditorium-style theatre for the masks dances. We noticed several very tall black men up ahead, getting a quick glance at their matching outfits. It turned out to be the US Men’s Armed Forces team who were taking a break from a basketball exhibition game nearby.

 

Korean Folk Dancing

 

I have a lot to say about the Korean dance performance I watched. The most important of which is I barely understood the very strange story being told.

 

 
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An Interesting Play/ Dance

Okay… so we begin with a guy and two women. Incidentally, he is flirting with them, and neither one seems interested. Then, all of a sudden, he gets really mad. After washing in a river, he changes his mind. And takes both of them as his wife.

Enter this shady guy. They fight. He wins and the first guy carries only one of the women off stage. Surprisingly, the abandoned wife starts a romance with the shady guy. And they have a very ugly baby. She eventually discards the baby and leaves both man and baby behind.

However, the ugly guy promises always to love the ugly baby. Suddenly, the first guy comes back with the wife he chose. And they seem very happy, making love constantly. The act is represented by him placing his large fan over their faces.

Out of nowhere, some other guy enters. Thereby starts flirting with the wife, who seems to be torn between the two. They go back and forth, and eventually, she chooses the second guy. The husband stomps off the stage. And the play/ dance abruptly ends.

Yeah, it was bizarre. Where are my Korean friends when I need one?

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Thailand Dancers

All the performances concluded with a foreign act. The 3 p.m. show included musicians and dancers from Thailand. However, my hubby and I were relieved it was dance and music. We weren’t going to have to decipher anything else today.

The festival has over 50 events, but the highlight is the National and international Mask Dance Performances and World Mask Competitions. Hence, competitors come from all around the world. The day we went, there were performances by teams from the Philippines and Japan. We caught the performance of the beautiful dancers from Thailand. Subsequently, we saw our first three trips to  Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai.

Individual: Adults (ages 19-64) 7,000 won / Students & Seniors (ages 65 and more) 5,000 won.

Group ticket: Adults (ages 19-64) 5,000 won / Students & Seniors (ages 65 and above) 4,000 won.

For tickets and more information, go to: http://www.maskdance.com/eng/main.asp.

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 Other Things to Do in Andong

The mask museum near the Hahoe Folk Village offers a great side trip. A separate fee of 2,000 Won gives you access to three floors of masks, videos, and hands-on exhibits worldwide. There are permanent and temporary exhibits from the North American Indian to the Zulu Warriors of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique.

Address:

200 , Chukjejang-gil, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
경상북도 안동시 육사로 239
www.maskdance.com

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