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Drink and Rice Cake Festival in Gyeongju to Show Korean Spirit
SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- Koreans traditionally loved to offer homemade drinks and rice cakes to friends or guests who visited their homes. Drinks and rice cakes were also used in many communal events where people share not only happiness and joy but grief with others, and this has been regarded as a virtue of sharing. Even today, it is a common practice for a Korean family to distribute small dishes of rice cakes to their neighbors when they have happy occasions like a wedding or the first birthday of their offspring.
The Korean traditional drinks, including wines and liquors, and rice cakes are cultural resources that have lived with Koreans throughout the nation's history.
Drink has been one of the dearest friends of the Korean people. Each family has their own way of brewing drink, which they are very proud of preparing for ceremonies for their ancestors or receiving friends and guests to their homes. It was a precious cultural food heritage, showing their acknowledgment of the importance of their guests as well as their happiness and joy in receiving them.
Rice cake is specialty food in Korea that has always been on the table on special occasions or important familial or national holidays. In particular, rice cakes symbolize sharing -- one of the most beautiful cultural heritages through which people share happy as well as sad events -- since if one house prepares rice cakes for their own familial event, like a wedding or funeral, they usually make enough to share with the whole community.
In Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, one can experience Korea's traditional taste and spirit during the 2005 Korean Drink and Rice Cake Festival, which will run from March 26 to 31 at historic Hwangseong Park. Tours to the rich cultural legacies of Gyeongju, the capital of the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C.-935 A.D.), will be a bonus to visitors to the drink and rice cake festival.
Various events are scheduled during the six-day festival, to be held as one of Korea's representative festivals designated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Events of the eighth Drink and Rice Cake Festival will include opening and closing ceremonies, performances of Korean music and dance, displays of various sorts of Korean drinks and rice cakes, and many events to be participated in by visitors.
In particular, at 2 p.m. on March 27, visitors will participate in making a huge rice cake in the shape of the Korean national flag, the "Taegeukgi," to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.
The cake will contain 56 different kinds of Korean drinks in 992 cups, symbolizing the 992 years of the Silla Kingdom.
In addition to the opening and closing ceremonies, various performances are to be held every night. A Korean traditional music performing group will hold a concert of "fusion" Korean music on March 27, to be followed by performance of Korean songs in fox-trot melodies, an overseas folk performance on March 28, and others.
At the exhibition hall in the indoor gymnasium of Hwangseong Park will be virtually every aspect of Korean drinks and rice cakes. There will also be on display various drinks from Korea, Japan and China, a map of world drinks and history of drinks.
As permanent events, visitors will have the chance to experience the making of traditional Korean knots and paper craft, painting traditional Korean masks and exhibition of Silla pottery.
As for the participatory events, visitors will have an opportunity to learn how to make various rice cakes from the "masters." They also can participate in family competitions to make "songpyeon" (rice cakes), cutting bar rice cakes while blindfolded and guessing the names of wines. They also will be able to attend a tea-drinking ceremony and rub copies of rice cake frames patterns.
Organizers expect about 500,000 people, including foreign tourists, to participate in the festival.
For more information, go to http://sulddeok.gyeongju.go.kr.