We’ve previously touched briefly on the mysterious “Jeongseon Arirang”, in our earlier write-up about the country here. But what was its origins?

Source: gangwon.com.my

For those of you who are not in the know, the “Jeongseon Arirang” is the regional variety of Arirang, Korea’s best-known folk song, native to Jeongseon area of Gangwon-do.


In 1867, during the regency of Daewongun (Prince Lee Ha Eung), father of Gojong (Last emperor in Joseon Dynasty), Gyeongbokgung palace buildings were reconstructed and formed a massive complex with 330 buildings and 5,792 rooms. Standing on 4,657,576 square feet of land, Gyeongbokgung again became an iconic symbol for both the Korean nation and the Korean royal family.

Source: gangwon.com.my

For this major reconstruction of 7 years, workers throughout the country were called in to Hanyang (Seoul’s old name) in order to work on the site. Workers sang many work folk songs together to relieve stress and comforted themselves, and among many songs, “Jeongseon Arirang” was most popular as it has a nice chorus part to sing along as “Arari-Arirang”.

After palace reconstruction was completed, workers went back to their hometown and Arirang song was spread over all the regions in Korea. In the process, it is said to have given rise to the “Jeongseon Arirang,” the “Miryang Arirang,” and today’s most representative “Arirang,” the “Gyeonggi Arirang”.


Throughout dramatic modern Korean history with sorrowful moments as colonial period and Korean war, Arirang as a symbol of Korea has been together with people comforting the heartbrokenness and sharing the happiness and sadness all the time. As such, a festival is held every year in homage to this folk song.

Designated as “Gangwondo Intangible Cultural Heritage No.1. Jeongseon Arirang Festival”, the “Arirang Festival” is inaugurated with a costumed parade and street folk performances. The performance of “Jeongseon Arirang”, the main highlight of the festival, is usually followed by a variety of other folk performances, cultural events, and sporting events such as the “Jeongseon Arirang” calligraphy exhibition, national writing contest, drawing contest, children’s art madang, dance contest, K-POP dance competition, archery contest, students’ music performance, Nakdong farming music performance, fusion Korean music performance, musical, multicultural food and traditional costume experience, etc.

*Pictures from Gangwon Province.

Participatory events are open to public participation, including Jeongseon Arirang singing competition, reenctment of Ttetmok Arari, and a local dialect contest.

  • Admission/Participation Fees: Free
  • Period: 29th September 2017 – 2nd October 2017
  • Address: 112, Bongyang-ri, Jeongseon-eup, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do. (강원도 정선군 정선읍 봉양리 112 (정선읍))
  • Getting there: From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Jeongseon. From Jeongseon Terminal, take a taxi to the festival grounds. (5 – 10 minutes)

Special thanks to our friends from Korea Tourism Organisation (Malaysia) for the opportunity!

Hype Malaysia is also an official “Wow! PyeongChang!” supporter in conjunction with the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea. So keep a look out for our future posts as we’ll be gushing over places to go, things to do, and food to eat in Gangwon ?

For more information, hit up the Korea Tourism Organisation (Malaysia) website or Facebook page. Alternatively, you can follow them on Instagram.

Big shoutout to our friends from Travel Recommends for keeping us connected with unlimited data on our trip to South Korea, enabling us to update real-time for the entire duration without a hitch ?

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