Finally, May has come. With its mild temperature and celebratory holidays, it is the month that blooms with a variety of festivities all over Korea. Among many festive events, a multicultural festival attracted my attention, that is, Seoul Friendship Fair.
Hosted by Seoul Metropolitan Government, this fair was held around the Seoul Plaza and Mugyodong-gil on 7th and 8th of May.
As its theme ‘meeting and sharing of the world, and unity’ suggests, Seoul Friendship Fair offered a chance for both Seoul citizens and foreign residents to experience a wide range of world cultures at the heart of Seoul. Many interesting programs that featured the festival included multicultural performances, exhibitions, street parade, world food court, etc.
My friend and I joined the first day of the festival to taste the multicultural vibe which it exuded.
Our journey started with World Food Court at Mugyodong-gil where lots of food stalls from various countries lined up along the street. Just then, it was a lunch time, and the food stalls attracted passers-by with exotic smells and flavors.
From Russia to Afghanistan, people from different countries in each food stall welcomed us, serving staples and specialities of their own nations.
By savoring different types of food from different countries along the street, it made a perfect journey to the world.
After we were stuffed with food, we came across an open-air cafe with a small stage. Nestled in the middle of Mugyodong-gil, this music cafe provided passers-by with a chance to relax and enjoy live performances from diverse cultures.
By the time when we got to the cafe, a group of Thai traditional dancers was performing on the stage.
After enriched by various cuisines and a cultural performance, we headed to the Seoul Plaza where the Traditional Folk Art Exhibition was taking place. The exhibition was made up of each country booth introducing its own culture with folkcrafts, accessories and costumes.
Among many of country booths, we were particularly drawn into the Malaysian booth where we enjoyed a Malaysian traditional game, “chonka”, with the help of welcoming Malaysian people.
Shortly after we were taking a rest on the green turf at the Seoul plaza, a cheerful tune of music started to ring across the plaza. Yes. With the street parade and greetings from the mayor of Seoul, the opening ceremony of Seoul Friendship Fair 2011 kicked off at the main stage of the Seoul plaza.
Marking the 16th year since it first started, Seoul Friendship Fair 2011 has reached out to the further part of the world, inviting 10 ethnic performance troupes representing each continent, from Europe to Latin America.
Followed by the opening ceremony, these invited troupes performed on the main stage.
Even though we hardly know about this country, they impressed us a lot with the performance full of enthusiasm and energy.
Performances from other sister cities of Seoul kept going, and the first day of the fair continued till late at night.
From world cuisines to multicultural performances, it was a festival that Seoulites and foreigners got together and mixed with in harmony. If you are a person eager to know about different parts of the world and to interact with people from diverse cultures, Seoul Friendship Fair is just for you!
For more information on Seoul Friendship Fair, please check the website: seoulfriendshipfair.org