The 2017 Andong International Mask Dance Festival will have its 21st presentation in Andong City from 29 Sept. 29, 2017 to Oct 8 on the theme of “Wish of Homo-Festivus.” The Festival is organized by the Andong City of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, namely the Andong Festival Tourism Foundation and Korea Heritage Administration.
Since Andong Mask Dance Festival started in 1997, it has grown to be one of the biggest regional festivals in Korea after being designated as a leading cultural festival for four consecutive years in a row.
The Andong City, 268 kilometers southeast of Seoul, is 3,000 years old and is considered the ‘Spiritual Capital of the Korea.’
Andong is also is an important scientific and cultural center of the region and contains many impressive monuments—attracting many very important persons from around the world.
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, also visited this city on the occasion of her 73rd birthday celebration in April 1999.
Many other international VIP guests have also visited the Andong City because it is a symbol of Korean culture and spirit.
The Andong Mask Dance Drama Festival has a total of over 50 different events and hands-on experience programs, including the National & International Mask Dance Drama performances, World Mask Dance Drama Competition, original mask performances, mask dance training, Madang (courtyard) Nori (play), original puppet plays, a world mask exhibition and mask-making event.
Hahoe Byeolshin-gut Tal-nori is the representative traditional mask dance play that originated from the Hahoe village and was designated as the Important Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 69. It is planned to be presented every day during the festival period. Approximately 1.2 million people are expected to visit the Festival this year. Embassy members of nearly 20 countries, as well as the mayors of 10 local cities, are expected to attend the opening ceremony.
Traditionally, Korean mask dances were performed, in many cases, by the lower class of people who became emboldened while hiding their identity behind the mask to vent their frustration with the rigid upper class people in the Confucian Korea. But their performances in a folk drama were not designed to deepen the anger, but to overcome and resolve those ill-feelings with a salt of biting satire and witty humor.
They often took the chance to openly ridicule the Yangban (nobility) class and the establishment of the society which was supposed to lead a noble, exemplary life but which often tragically failed to do so. The disrespectful act, without a mask, would have otherwise been unimaginable in the strictly hierarchical society.
This year, in celebration of the 21st anniversary, the 2017 Andong Mask Dance Drama Festival, which took the "Wish of Homo-Festivus" theme, to feature a young man advocating alienated people and expressing freedom with dynamic gestures and brilliant speech.
The festival will take place in the Andong Mask Dance Park, outdoor plazas and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hahoe Folk Village from 29th of September to 8th of October this year.