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[1][3] from the Korean Peninsula.

Annual Parade

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!

Main events

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!

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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!

The parade was so much fun that I will definitely
sign up next year as well!

  • It looks like a lot of fun. Such events are always nice to visit / be part of 🙂

    • absolutely! it’s important to try to integrate! 🙂

  • The hanbok are gorgeous! Looks like a great time, full of fun and laughter and not taken too seriously.

    • that’s exactly how it was! a traditional event with a lot of modern edges! 🙂

  • Wendy Flor

    This looks like a really fun event… Customized hanbok? Then did you get it as yours after the event? That’s cool!

    • it was awesome! no, we didn’t get to keep the hanbok! but it was still a great experience!

  • Rafiqua Israel

    Custom made hanbok…that is awesome! It’s a pity you can’t keep it…or can you? The parade looks like it was so much fun!!

  • Laura Nalin

    The parade looks like it was a great time. How fun that the two of you were able to participate in such a unique cultural experience together!

    • Thank you Laura! it was truly an awesome experience!

  • Jaclyn Chua-Park

    Oh my gosh this is soooo cute and amazing! I love it! I wish I could have gone too!
    Btw just watched the video. Just curious, since you were part of the parade how were you able to take the video?
    I was just talking to my husband about Korean nationalism and Korean heroes the other day and it’s so apt that I see this. I really admire this nation’s bravery in the face of adversity. Did you know that a Korean rebel killed the Japanese Prime Minister during WW2? I bet that’ll be an awesome topic for your fiance and you to talk about. Thanks for sharing! 🙂