Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hahoe Folk Village


In Andong, it's impossible to walk around town and not see a giant poster of a masked man bearing a wild grin. It's the only way I can describe it. It's slightly eerie but at the same time, intriguing. The drunk. He's the Maskdance character that everyone loves -- I mean, we can all relate, right? While the official Andong Maskdance Festival doesn't occur until September and October, you can catch a glimpse of the performance at the Hahoe folk village, just outside of Andong. Last weekend, a few of my friends and I went there for our friend Joanne's birthday. She usually goes to Seoul to visit her family every weekend (she's half Korean), so it was fun stealing her away for once.

Hahoe is pronounced ha-hway-mal -- mal, meaning "village." Ha means "river" and hoe means "turning around." From an aerial view, you can see the way the river curves around the village. Pretty cool. It's a really fascinating folk village for several reasons: First, it's a one-family village. The Ryu family alone has lived there for 600 years. In order to live in Hahoe, you gotta marry in. Alex has said that he is going to find himself a Hahoe woman so that he can live there. But you know what? I'm okay with that. I'll just find myself a Hahoe man. Problem solved.

The village is also unique in that, rather than having the front doors of all the houses facing south or south-east as most Korean homes are (which allows for a warmer house in the winter and a cooler house in the summer), Hahoe homes all face out toward the curving river that hems them in. This has also helped to preserve the village, because it has prevented sneak attacks from enemies. 

The lovely Queen Elizabeth II also held her 73rd birthday party at Hahoe. I'm assuming the woman knows how to throw a pretty snazzy shindig, so, for her to choose Hahoe as the party locale makes it pretty cool in my book. 

And finally, no other folk village has a mask dance. At least, if they do, it's not like this one. Like I said, Andong is famous for their annual Maskdance Festival in the Fall, but the Hahoe folks stage a mini-performance of this renowned dance daily. Let me just tell you -- it rocks. Several of my friends were pulled in to be a part of the performance (So if you're not into that, beware of sitting in the front row). It was a lot of fun. 

Some of the maskdance characters and I. I personally loved the halimoni (grandma--below).

Alex swings on the giant swing like a pro. And then there's me.


  1. I LOVE YOUR PICTURES IN THIS BLOG. No, seriously. I think you have gotten so much better just in the past few months! (Not that you were bad at the beginning or anything). Side note is there a way to make the "comments" button really big? LOL then maybe more people will comment!!!

  2. I tried makin the comments thing bigger...its just not happening. Oh well. Thanks for all your comments though! I love them. :)

  3. I tried makin the comments thing bigger...its just not happening. Oh well. Thanks for all your comments though! I love them. :)



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