This weekend, Jeongsu and I participated in the annual Cheongju City Wall Parade! We heard about it on Facebook where the organizers were looking for foreigners to participate. We got to dress up in hanbok and walked through downtown with 2,000 others! It was a great event with lots of amazing show acts and activities!
September 6, 1593
Japanese forces marched into Cheongju. It was an important city because it provided as an influencial center for transporting supplies to Japanese forces in the north and was one way to Hanseong (Seoul). The Battle of Chongju was one of the first Korean victories on land during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598). The Japanese invasion ended in 1598 with the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Korean Peninsula.
Each year, the city of Cheongju holds a parade to remember this important victory over the Japanese. I expected a traditional parade with musicians, taekwondo people and similar things. However, it turned out to be a entertaining and modern event and topped my expectations completely!
First, we got to dress up in traditional hanbok! The outfits were custom made for us and extremely pretty! We got to wear them for the entire event and sure got some stares and thumbs up from the locals watching! Next, we walked to the main meeting point where all the other parade participants would line up in their position. There were belly dancers, clowns, taekwondo masters, musicians and much more!
The parade started and we were walking first in line of the hanbok section with our friend AMWF couple! We watched soldiers and musician pass by and then found our place in the parade and walked along! Locals were expecting us at the sides of the street and waving and taking pictures! Even TV broadcasting station were there to take photos and videos!
The parade included a couple of main events that were simply breathtaking. The first event was a short battle scene with Korean and Japanese soldiers. It was pretty cool to watch them do some fighting stunts! The next thing that simply made my jaw drop to the floor was a modern performance by some local artists. They had a couple of bongos and huge xylophones and played them swining around their self-made bongo cars. Make sure to watch the video to see this incredible performance!
Next up was the main battle act between the Japanese and Koreans. It was a nice play professionally executed by volunteer actors. I especially loved the part when young taekwondo learners “battled” the Japanese with a fighting/dance performance! It was stunning! To completely scare the Japanese off, the audience was given waterbombs to throw at the Japanese actors. Simply hilarious!