Concluding the end of 2017
Places worth visiting for end-of-the-year sightseeing
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With little over a week left in 2017, everyone is busy preparing to celebrate the passing of a year and the approach of a new one. Now that final exams are coming to an end, students of Hanyang are also joining in the fun, each preparing an end-of-the-year festivity of their own. Whether you are planning to go out drinking with your friends, spend time with your family, or stay home alone, here are some places worth sightseeing to help you get into the holiday spirit, and possibly make valuable memories with your loved ones.
Seoul Christmas Festival (2017.12.09 – 2018.01.02)
The first recommended location is the Seoul Christmas Festival. As suggested by its quite literal name, it is a festival for everyone, with no cost of admission. Beginning from the Gwanghwamun Metro Station, the festival stretches throughout the Cheonggye Stream, reaching to the streets of Jongno. The Cheonggye Stream itself is a popular visiting spot for many people, perfect for an afternoon walk for desk workers nearby or a date venue for couples. The stream path has become even more alluring, with spectacular lights and Christmas decorations adorned on the walls and even hanging in the air. Furthermore, there are numerous food vendors along the festival, selling snacks such as chicken skewers, tteok bokki and fish cake, roasted chestnuts, and warm beverages. For foreign students, Cheonggye Stream is a must-go location even if it isn’t for the festival; however, with the celebration going on, it is a wonderful opportunity to experience Christmas that captures the essence of Korean culture. For Koreans, Christmas is not as much a family-gathering occasion as it is in the West. Rather, it is usually spent with friends and lovers, enjoyed largely by the youth. Family gatherings revolve around the seasons of New Years, as marked in the lunar calendar, as well as Korean Thanksgiving, Chuseok. The festival is right around the corner of Gwanghwamun Metro Station exit 5, and many visitors can be expected to be seen despite the cold weather.
The Cheonggye Stream is already a popular attraction for many people.
Many people were visiting the festival despite the extremely cold weather.
Deoksugung Outdoor Project: Light∙Sound∙Landscape (2017.09.01 – 2017.12.28)
Here is another popular sight-seeing spot for many foreigners, as well as Koreans. The Deoksugung, or Deoksu Palace, has served as the royal palace of the King from the year of 1593. It was temporarily used as a detached palace in 1623, and later returned to its royal status with the rise of King Gojong from 1897 to 1907. One of the most attractive aspects of this site is its convenient location, located in the midst of the buildings around City Hall. Not only is it easy to reach, just in front of exit 2 of the City Hall Metro Station, it is intriguing to see a cultural monument surrounded by modern infrastructure. In the same sense as the Cheonggye Stream, it is a worthwhile place to visit on its own, as a cultural asset that well captures the heritage of our nation. However, the outdoor project, a collaboration with the National Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cultural Heritage Office of Deoksugung Palace, provides another good reason to stop by. To celebrate the 120th anniversary of Korea’s Independence, nine modern artists worked together to recreate the establishment of Korea’s independent government. By adapting modern technology related to lights, sound, and even virtual reality, the project offers an extraordinary experience. As the project is planned to end on the 28th of December, those who wish to visit may need to hurry.
The Deoksugung Palace has a large number of foreign visitors as well as Koreans.
Inside the antique buildings are modern, flashing lights.
One of the art installations, Dream in a Dream, is in the form of virtual reality.
Shinchon Christmas Street Festival (2017.12.23 – 2017.12.25)
Situated near three major universities, Shinchon is a restless area with numerous students, workers, and shoppers bustling throughout the streets. Street performances, such as busking, magic shows, and dance performances can be seen on a daily basis. The streets of Shinchon also cater to a number of festivals, such as the Water Gun Festival in the summers, or the Handmade Beer Festival held this autumn. Due to the location's popularity and great exposure, festivals held there are usually a big success. The Shinchon Christmas Street Festival is no exception. Held every year, the streets are decorated with huge Christmas trees and spectacular light ornaments. Furthermore, there are carolers in the streets, which is not a common tradition enjoyed by Koreans on Christmas. Although the exact decorations and activities for this year have yet to be revealed, those seeking a Christmas experience shared by university students should definitely make a visit.
Christmas time and New Year may bring about homesickness for many foreign students. For Korean students, it is a time to look back and make closure with the past year and make plans for the coming year. Wherever your minds are at in this season of celebration, reflection, and anticipation, here are some places to visit to make new memories with the few remaining days of 2017.
Lee Chang-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lee Chang-hyun
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