Lithuania Plunged into Exotic Korean Culture

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On 9–11 July, the celebration of Korea Days, titled Korea Comes to Lithuania, took place in the country. Residents and visitors of Kaunas, Vilnius and Druskininkai were treated to an up-close look at the culture of the exotic and yet often undiscovered Korea.

The first events of Korea Days were organised in the yard of the Mokytoju Namai in Vilnius on 9 July. On 10 July, the celebration of Korea Days in Druskininkai served as a prelude to the 7th Druskininkai Theatre Festival, while the festivities in the Town Hall Square and the Communications History Museum in Kaunas on 11 July were held in commemoration of the 10th anniversary since the establishment of the VMU Centre for Asian Studies.

Spanning three cities and three evenings, the Korea Days offered cultural fairs and concerts to everyone interested. On all three nights, the celebrations ended with a dynamic and colourful concert of traditional Korean music and dance led by a South Korean group Yeongnam Yesuldan, which entertained the audience with dances of women holding fans, music of the archaic instrument gayageum and acrobatic performances with drums. Founded in 2001, Yeongnam Yesuldan contributes to the international recognition of traditional Korean dances and songs and preserves the cultural heritage. The members of the collective are all professional dancers and singers that are best suited to represent the Korean tradition. Every year these talented artists hold shows at international folk festivals in China, Thailand, Japan, the USA and other countries, they already have numerous awards under their belt.

Cultural fairs before the concerts in Korea Days allowed the attending public to make traditional paper handicraft, wear glamorous Korean dress hanbok, write their own name in the Korean alphabet Hangeul, etc.

“The world is more and more appreciative of the deep historical traditions of Korea and its successful modernisation. I am especially pleased that our university is the leader of Korean studies in the Baltic countries and is actively developing the study and research exchange relations with this country”, the Vytautas Magnus University’s Vice-Rector for Public Communication Prof. Auksė Balčytienė said.

According to the Head of the Centre for Asian Studies dr. Aurelijus Zykas, such an event is not the first one to be held in Lithuania. “The concert that took place in Kaunas in 2009 was very successful, it was also highly attended last year, during the event Korea Comes To Kaunas. This shows that the Lithuanian public is interested in the so far little known Korean culture. I myself cannot wait to once again plunge deep into this dynamic world of colours and sounds”, dr. Aurelijus Zykas explained.

The Korea Days were organised by the Vytautas Magnus University’s Centre for Asian Studies in collaboration with the Korean Culture Center in Warsaw, the Korean-Baltic Business Association and the organisation Kultūros Cechas. The partners of the project were the Communications History Museum in Kaunas and the Vilniaus Mokytojų Namai.

You are welcome to view the video report by Kristijonas Jakubsonas (k.jakubsonas@vkt.vdu.lt).

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