By Feature Editors Song Na-ra, Joy Cho, Reporter Jeong Won-shik
Mayor Park Sung-soo of Songpa-gu (district) in Seoul said, “We have adopted the use of an ‘Ontact’ method in hosting the ‘2020 Hanseong Baekje Culture Festival’ this year to successfully cope with the woes of the on-going COVID-19.” This year’s festival begins on Sept. 23 and continues through the 27th of the same month in on- and off-line programs.
Speaking at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean media outlets since 1985, Mayor Park added, “We will stick to the ‘social distancing method’ to stay away from the pandemic, but, all the same, we are trying to stay closer together heart-to-heart.”
Mayor Park went great lengths introducing the 2020 Hanseong Baekje Festival.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Festival which the Songpa Ward has been hosting.
The Hanseong Baekje Culture Festival has won the Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals & Events Association for eight consecutive years and the Grand Prize in the Republic of Korea Festival Contents Award for five years in a row in the field of Festival Art and Tradition.
Thus, the Songpa Ward carries on and further develops the brilliant history and culture of the Hanseong Period of the Baekje Dynasty of the Korean peninsula. The Baekje Kingdom was a maritime power 2,000 years ago with its base situation in today’s Songpa District of the Seoul City, the capital of the Republic of Korea.’
The Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival, which is the largest historical and cultural festival in the region, reproduces the golden age of the Hanseong Baekje Period.
The Festival comes as a great source of relief to the Seoulites and the visitors from all parts of the country and the world in that the visitors can take part in a number of very interesting programs where the people can personally participate.
They include the “Ontact Hanseong Baekje Singing Contest,” which is open to all applicants. This program also offers attractive prizes for the winners.
There also are exhibitions and academic programs, including the “Great Baekje Exhibition,” which sheds light on the historical development of the Songpa area.
The interesting programs also include an art exhibition for children for which application for participation to all the children across the country.
There also is an exhibition that is aimed at tracing the historical developments that occurred in and around the Songpa District. This event will take place in and around the Seokcheon Lake which is located in the Songpa District.
The Festival is also Seoul's only ‘Excellent Culture and Tourism Festival’ selected by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2008.
During the Festival in the preceding years, various events and programs were presented and performed. They include the opening and closing ceremonies, congratulatory performances, fireworks, the Baekje Culture Experiential Village, traditional game experiential activities, the Baekje Royal Tomb Festival, and the torch-lighting ceremony together with a parade taking place along Wiryeseong-daero. In addition, a traditional and international food market was opened at festival venues, which provided the visitors and audience a chance to sample exotic foods from various countries as well as traditional Korean foods.
Whether these events will take place this year or not will depend much on the successful control of the spread of COVID-19.
Songpa-gu, or Songpa District, is a leading area of Seoul, Songpa-gu is a vibrant and dynamic city providing abundant jobs, a welfare city with a community-based childcare system that covers all families, an educational city where no child is left behind, an international cultural and tourist city where tradition and modernity coexist, a safe city where residents can walk anytime, anywhere with the ease of mind, and an eco-friendly city where blue skies are seen everywhere, even in the downtown area.
“Through human-centered administration to reflect resident voices in policies, and global innovative administration that makes new changes every day,” assures Mayor Park, “Songpa will become a successful model for Korean local governments, realizing its vision for a livable city to all residents, the most sought-after city by 50 million people across the nation, and an advanced city attracting the attention of the world.”
“To maximize the happiness of residents and elevate the value of Songpa, I will keep moving forward, walking step by step together with our 700,000 residents,” states Mayor Park.