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2014–2015 Winter Festivals

2014–2015 Winter Festivals

December in Korea means holiday lights, snow, cozy hats and scarves, Christmas decorations, and last but not least, plenty of winter festivals. While simply staying indoors is a tempting alternative, try embracing the seasonal temperatures and venture out. There are winter events celebrating everything from arts to fruits and winter activities for everyone to enjoy, young and old alike. 

As the solar year’s 12th month comes to an end and the year draws to a close, people gather at sunrise festival locations across Korea to welcome in the first sunrise of 2014. January and February are perfect for reveling in the chilly weather by visiting snow and ice festivals. Popular festivals include the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, Pyeongchang Trout Festival, Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival, Inje Icefish Festival, Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival and many more. After you’ve had your fill of the snow and ice, head over to Jeju-do for the hot and smoky Jeju Fire Festival.

2014 December Festivals

Boseong Green Tea Plantation Light Festival

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Photo credit: Boseong-gun

When: December 12, 2014 – January 25, 2015
Where: Boseong Green Tea Fields (Hoecheon-myeon, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do) 
The magical allure of the Boseong Green Tea Fields grows tenfold in winter as bright Christmas lights cast a cheery glow over the expansive fields. Christmas lights and an enormous Christmas tree, as well as a number of themed exhibits (the Love Galaxy Light Tunnel, Green Tea Themed Street, etc.) bring “Christmas decorations” to a whole new level.

New Year's Sunrise Festivals

Ulsan Ganjeolgot Sunrise Festival

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When: December 31, 2014 – January 1, 2015 (New Years Eve/Day)
Where: Ganjeolgot Lighthouse (Daesong-ri, Seosaeng-myeon, Ulju-gun, Ulsan-si)
Ganjeolgot is known as the seaside location where one can witness the first sunrise in Korea. People all across the nation gather to celebrate and watch the first sunrise of the New Year here. New Year's celebrations also include a wide array of events such as fireworks, eating tteokguk (sliced rice cake soup traditionally eaten during New Year), and a wide range of performances. Nearby attractions include thick groves of pine trees, oddly-shaped rock formations and an onggi (earthenware) village.

Maryangpo Sunset & Sunrise Festival

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Photo credit: Seocheon-gun

When: December 31, 2014 – January 1, 2015 (New Years Eve/Day)
Where: Maryangpo Port (Maryang-ri, Seo-myeon, Seocheon-gun, Chungcheongnam-do) 
Why spend New Year's Eve indoors when you can spend it at this beautiful beach on Korea's west coast? One of the few places that offer a stunning view of both the sunset and the sunrise, this sunrise festival venue has it all: a great location and lots of celebratory events such as a local specialty market and seaside bonfires.

Homigot Sunrise Festival

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When: December 31, 2014 – January 1, 2015 (New Years Eve/Day)
Where: Homigot Sunrise Plaza (Nam-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do) 
Homigot Beach, where the Sunrise Plaza is located, is definitely one of the most popular places for watching the new year's sunrise due to its brilliant yellow and golden sunrise scenery. People can see a variety of performances and fireworks in the sky when the New Year's Day approaches. In addition, people can also enjoy Korean folk games and taste local food like guamegi (partially dried herring or mackerel pike) or makgeolli in the food market.

Seongsan Sunrise Festival

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When: December 31, 2014 – January 1, 2015 (New Years Eve/Day)
Where: Ilchulbong Peak area (Seogwipo-si, Jeju-si )
Join the countdown and welcome in the New Year at Jeju’s premier sunrise attraction, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (also known as “Sunrise Peak”). Fishermen from every port will turn on their boat lights and blow their whistles in unison to mark the occasion. With the port town down below and a view of the sun coming up over the ocean, it is truly a spectacular sight to behold.

Jeongdongjin Sunrise Festival

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When: December 31, 2014 – January 1, 2015 (New Years Eve/Day)
Where: Sandglass Park (Jeongdongjin Beach, Gangneung, Gangwon-do)
Get off of the train in Jeongdongjin and walk only a few meters to the beautiful beach and its large hourglass. The beach's hourglass is so big that it takes one full year for the sand at the top to fall to the bottom. As 12am on New Year's Eve approaches, the last grains trickle down and the hourglass is turned over once again as part of a grand ceremony, kicking off the brand-new year.

Gyeongpo Sunrise Festival

Gyeongpo Sunrise Festival

When: December 31, 2014 – January 1, 2015 (New Years Eve/Day)
Where: Gyeongpo Beach (Jeo-dong, Gangneung, Gangwon-do)
Gyeongpo Beach is well-known for its beauty, which shows itself in a different light throughout the year. On New Year's Day, people gather for a huge celebration counting down the seconds until the New Year, watching fireworks and participating in an array of programs and cultural events.

Yeosu Hyangiram Sunrise Festival

Yeosu-Hyangiram-Sunrise-Festival

When: December 31, 2014 – January 1, 2015 (New Years Eve/Day)
Where: Impo Village (Hyangiram) area (Dolsan-eup, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do)
Hyangiram Sunrise Festival is an annual overnight festival attended by those who want to enjoy the sunrise scene. Beginning with the gukak (traditional Korean music) performance, there are various events like the “sunrise singing contest”, “wish lighting”, “dance festival”, “family film festival”, and a lot more activities for the visitors to enjoy.

2015 January - February Festivals

Pyeongchang Trout Festival

Pyeongchang-Trout-Festival

When: December 20, 2014 - February 8, 2015
Where: Odaecheon Stream area (Jinbu-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do)
Cut a hole through the ice and catch a fish or two (or possibly more) with your own two hands. In addition to ice fishing, this trout festival is also packed with activities like Korean folk games, sledding, kite flying, and more!

Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mount Trout) Ice Festival

Hwacheon-Sancheoneo

When: January 10 – February 1, 2015
Where: Hwacheoncheon Stream and five villages in Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do
The Hwacheon Stream and the surrounding areas are the natural habitat of the mountain trout and otters. It is here, in this pristine natural environment, that the Sancheoneo Ice Festival is held every year in celebration of fish and wintertime fun. One of the most popular programs at the Mountain Trout Ice Festival is ice fishing, where people cut a hole through the 40cm ice on the lake and try their luck at catching the mountain trout. If you want to brave the icy water, you can go to a different section of the lake and try catching fish barehanded! Helpful staffs are available to ensure that even first-timers get a catch. After fishing, enjoy your freshly caught bounty, raw or grilled, on site.

Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival

Taebaeksan-Mountain-Snow-Festival

When: January 23 – February 1, 2015
Where: Taebaeksan Provincial Park and Hwangji Pond in Taebaek-si Gangwon-do
Taebaeksan Snow Festival offers guests an array of events and activities that are sure to amuse and entertain everyone. In addition to a number of performances and exquisite snow sculptures, visitors can participate in the Snowman Festival and snow sledding with the beautiful Taebaeksan Mountain covered with snow as their backdrop.

Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival

Jaraseom-Singsing-Winter-Festival

When: January 2 – February 1, 2015
Where: Gapyeongcheon Stream (Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do)
The Jaraseom Sing Sing Winter Festival is famous for ice fishing. Ice fishing for trout (your catch can be eaten right away, raw or grilled), snow sledding, and a 50-people sledge ride on ice will be fun for the whole family. Other activities include ice sledding, ice skating, and riding bumper cars on snow. It is easy to reach Gapyeong simply by taking the ITX Cheongchun train from Yongsan Station. There are also popular attractions nearby such as Namiseom Island, The Garden of Morning Calm, and Petite France for visitors to explore.

Jeju Fire Festival

Jeju-Fire-Festival
Photo credit: Jeju-si

When: March, 2015 (planned)
Where: Saebyeol Oreum (Bongseong-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si)
The Jeju Fire Festival is held in order to pray for a healthy and prosperous new year. Long ago, Jeju farmers would set fire to their fields to kill harmful bugs and encourage new grass for their cattle. This tradition is reenacted by setting an entire side of the mountain ("oreum") on fire. Festival-goers can also experience the traditional lifestyle and practices of Korea's farmers, including a traditional wedding ceremony at the festival.

* Festival schedules are subject to change.

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Last updated on October 24, 2014