The warmer season sees a host of spring festivals in Korea and one such reveling festival is the Mungyeong Traditional Chasbal Festival, popularly called The Korean Tea Bowl festival.
For centuries, Korean pottery has been regarded as one of the most traditional, and best revelations of artistic talent worldwide.The Chasabal (tea bowl) festival is a beautiful blend of ancient traditions and techniques that are culturally driven by harmony of clay, fire and wind. The festival recently marked it’s 17th year (May 1- May 10), with this year’s theme – “the tradition contained in the tea pottery, the deep echo!”
The festival venue, Mungyeong, is a beautiful village near an ancient road through a mountain pass, built during the Joseon Dynasty (15th century). The village is a renowned pottery-producing center with over 900 years of history. It also features Mangdaengi, the oldest kiln in Korea. Home to nation’s leading ceramic masters, the festival, since it’s beginning in 1999, is a profound medium to promote Korea’s customary tea bowls or “Chasabal”, and retain Mungyeong’s identity as the birthplace of traditional ceramics and tea culture.
Mungyeong has long had a flourishing ceramics industry owing to an abundant supply of sandy soil and firewood. This annual festival offers visitors an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation for the unassuming beauty of ‘Chasabal’ and learn the traditional time-honored craft from region’s best Chasabal masters through many hands-on experience programs.
The most enriching experiences at the festival is the Korean traditional tea ceremony called Darye. At the ceremony people wearing Hanbok, traditional Korean costume, brew and serve tea in accordance with traditional etiquette. Some of the teas enjoyed during the ceremony are Omija (five-taste) tea, Dandelion tea, Green tea and lotus leaf tea. Tea is generally enjoyed with Tteok – traditional Korean rice cakes. The omija tea comes highly recommended, as it is a specialty of the Mungyeong region. Visitors can also sample Makgeolli (traditional rice wine) and rice cakes made with omija.
The festival hosts many thematic events including – the International Exchange Exhibition for Chasabal, the Excellent Mungyeong Traditional Ceramic Ware Exhibition, the National Grand Chasabal Contest and many cultural performances. Besides these elevating programs, there are many leisure sports like paragliding, hiking, spa and beautiful accommodations for visitors to relax, making Mungyeong one of the best destination for family trip in Korea.
The 2015 Mungyeong Chasabal (Tea Bowl) Festival ended with more than 230,000 total visitors.