Since I didn’t have a ton of funds I decided to stay home and do some cultural things around Seoul.  After a bit of research I found that the National museum was going to be hosting some traditional events.

My friend Sara and I enjoyed weather that was a balmy 40 degrees.  The sad part is that we really did think it was warm.  We were wearing light jackets and spending hours walking along the river near our apartments.  After having a month with 10-15 degree constant weather we were glad to feel some sun and soak up some vitamin D.

On the day of the actual Lunar New Year holiday the city…and I feel like it is safe to say the country was like a ghost town.  Literally there were a few cars but there were no people seen all day. Everything is closed and everyone is with their families doing traditional things.

The day after Sara and I headed to the National Museum of Korea.  It was huge and we only made it about half way through before we decided that it’s free and instead of rushing we could just come back another time.  We did have a few interesting things happen while we were there. First, the place was packed. Seriously, packed. So we were getting lunch waiting in line like all the Koreans and finally we order and sit down to wait on our food to be ready.  While we are waiting a fight erupts between two Korean men.  This is abnormal because I am very serious when  I say Koreans are not big on showing emotion in public.  The trains are usually silent for the most part and I have never seen them be overtly happy or sad or angry at all in public.  However. there were two men with their families pushing back and forth.  Sara said that in her 3 years here she has never seen anything like it. We were shocked and I felt bad for the little lady about half their heights trying to get them to calm down.   Everyone else in the room is acting like nothing is happening because another Korean tried and true rule is to mind your own business.  If it doesn’t concern you, then you don’t get involved.   In this instance I wish someone had helped that poor manager lady out.

Anyway, after lunch we went to see some traditional dancing, drumming, and calligraphy drawing before really digging in to the museum.

I had a bit of trouble taking pictures because there were so many people.  All the same these guys wear hats with ribbon dancer like things attached to them called a chae sangmo and the move their heads and dance around while other people play traditional instruments.  It is a farmer’s dance of sorts.  I did find a pretty short video that gives you a good idea of what I couldn’t capture in photos.

Then there were women that danced around slowly, and delicately of course, while playing a slow drum rhythm. All of the performers were also in traditional clothing and costumes.

Next came the most awesome part. The drum team.  These guys were waaaaay into their act and watching them was mesmerizing.

And this lady was by far my favorite. I could not take my eyes off of her she was so exciting to watch.

and here is a random shot of the crowd watching on the other side from where we were.

and here is me in front of a really tall guy in the museum. ^^


I also did some volunteer work but it has it’s own post coming soon.