Timed to coincide with the celebration of Korea’s national day, the Korean Culture Festival aims to give Jakartans a glimpse of what the country has in store.
The festival opened last week with a night of mostly traditional performances. If there’s one thing that Indonesia could learn from South Korea, it is its effort in going the extra mile to ensure that its cultural heritage is preserved.
“We also have problems with the younger generation liking pop culture more than traditional ones. But there are efforts to keep the tradition alive and appealing for them,” South Korean ambassador Kim Ho-young said last week.
On the opening night, a 2000-year-old traditional dance called hwagwanmu was performed by young dancers, while energetic young performers captivated the audience through the folk dance namsadang.
Performed by five women wearing colorful costumes with long draping sleeves swaying, hwagwanmu was developed as a form of entertainment for the king and his aristocrats. Namsadang is said to have been formed spontaneously by common people for their own entertainment.
The differences between the two performances were apparent in the audience’s response.
People mostly sat quietly during the hwagwanmu, enjoying the graceful movements. But, as five energetic men took the stage, skillfully moving in a way that made the white ribbon attached to their hats move as if dancing with them, the audience clapped along with the rhythmic drum beat.
For a short 10 minutes, the South Jakartan concert hall came to life.
The Korean Culture and Information Service also invited traditional musicians ranging from string instrumentalists playing gayageum sanjo to singers of gyeonggi folk songs.
Both are currently on the list of the country’s Important Intangible Cultural Assets.
Five Korean movies are to be screened for the public for free twice a day. Korean movie buffs can choose from dramas such as Christmas in August and Beyond the Years, comedy The Show Must Go On and historical epic The Divine Weapon.
Korean Movie Show
Until Oct. 18 at the Blitzmegaplex Pacific Place, South Jakarta
Until Oct. 18 at the National Museum, Central Jakarta
Korean Agricultural Exhibition
Oct. 16 – Oct. 18 at Grand Indonesia, Central Jakarta
Oct. 15 at the Usmar Ismail Hall, Kuningan, South Jakarta
All events are free of charge. For more information, contact the
Korean Embassy on (021) 520-1915.