Registered as an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013, “Kimjang” has been an authentic part of Korean food culture.
“Among our cultural heritages, kimjang is the one that displays our authentic style, joy and grace with the spirit of sharing,” said Song Hyoung-chae, the general director of the festival. “In the purpose of promoting and revitalizing this culture, we wanted to make it available for everyone including foreigners through making it as a festival,”
Under the theme of “Making and Sharing, a New Beginning for Korean Kimjang,” the festival progressed with about 20 programs divided into five categories: sharing, exhibition, experience, market & tasting centers and culture.
“The original intention of kimjang is cooperation and sharing,” said Joe Sae-hyun, the assistant director of the festival. “With modernized interpretation of kimjang which depicts our feast culture very well, the festival was for everyone in all ages to enjoy.”
As the largest kimchi making festival, more than 6,000 participants took part in making approximately 225 tons of kimchi. Kimchi made during the festival will be delivered to about 25,000 disadvantaged and poor people such as elderly living alone and low-income families. A race called “Seoul, Let’s Run Along the Kimchi Road” took place on Sejong-daero on Nov. 16. The race followed the footsteps of a Korean folk tale called “Two Brothers,” which is a story of two brothers bringing their harvest out of concern for each other. With 2,000 Seoul citizens divided into two teams named Cabbage and Radish, the one who delivered more cabbage to the other team which was at both ends of the 200 meter strip of Sejong-daero won the game. Exhibition “Kimjang, The Wisdom of Time” also took place at Gwanghwamun Plaza to look back at the history of kimchi and think about its present and future. Diverse and rare types of kimchi was displayed such as a kind served at royal meals or at temple.
“The festival was an enriching event. I was able to learn more about the national dish of Korea,” said Beverly Muboo, an exchange student at Ewha from France. “Indeed through this event, I discovered different kimchi dishes such as raw kimchi, kimchi stew, radish kimchi or bean sprout kimchi. I even tasted these dishes and they were brilliant although I wasn’t used to it.”
In addition to many events related to kimchi making, various performances and attractions were also provided. For instance, through “Taepyeong 3 Day Market,” people could purchase ingredients for kimchi. For a program called “This is kimchi,” a large-scale kimchi public art project, six teams of artists displayed art and photography.
According to SMG, the festival will develop into an annual event. By grafting diverse cultural elements, SMG also plans to elevate the festival into the global cultural festival which people from all around the world can enjoy and participate.