Dano Festival (강릉단오제)

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Korean
Age: 52
Occupation: Photographer
Residence: South Korea
Date of Performance/Collection: April 25th, 2020
Primary Language: Korean
Other Language(s):

Context : 

My informant is an adult female who works as a photographer in Korea. She specializes in taking photos and filming festivals around Korea and has been working in the photography industry for 7 years. Here, she is describing the Dano Festival that is held in Gangneung-si of the Gangwon area, which is located on the East side of the peninsula. The festival received recognition for its significance and was selected as one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of South Korea in 2005. She attended this festival several years ago and he is identified as Y in the dialogue. This piece was collected over a phone call in Korean and was later translated into English. 

Y : The Dano Festival (pronounced Dan-Oh) is a festival that comes annually on the 5th day of the fifth month in Korean lunar calendar. This doesn’t mean that it’s May 5th every year but depends on the lunar calendar. I think this year is.. (silence) Yeah, it’s June 25th for this year (2020). This festival is just a traditional folk festival of Korea and isn’t really connected to any folk stories like the Chunhyang Festival that I just talked about. It’s all about making traditional food such as Tteok (ricecake), and letting children play with traditional toys such as a kite made out of Hanji (traditional Korean paper) or play Tuho (traditional Korean activity where people try to throw long sticks into a barrel). This event is held right before summer time and also right after the agricultural workers have planted rice. By holding this event, the local people are wishing for a good summer and a good year of rice farming, which is important for everyone’s survival. 

Analysis :

This festival shows how the Korean society still treasures its old traditions from the past and tries to preserve it. Most of the activities and foods that are related to the festival are traditional and they do it the old-fashioned way. Also, this festival shows the agricultural importance in Korean society as their main food is rice. They hold a big event for the entire town and make a big wish for the agriculture God.