With Busan’s rich history and colorful culture, festivals and social celebrations are an integral part in the day-to-day living of the locals. Festivals in Busan are a huge aspect in the city’s tourism, attracting tourists from different parts of the world. Almost every month, there are festivals and cultural events scheduled, aside from the overflowing international events throughout the year.
Thanks to these celebrations, foreign travelers have the opportunity to experience a small bit of Korea’s heritage and culture. Moreover, understanding the culture and festivals in Busan helps you show respect for the local beliefs and traditions during your visit.
One common point of Busan culture is the need to take off your shoes when visiting places of worship, entering another home or eating in some restaurants. While not all food places require you to slip off your footwear, you will know whether you have to remove your shoes or not if you notice a shoe rack near the door.
Bowing is another Asian tradition, although in Busan, the bow is quite shallow, even a simple nod of the head is acceptable. Bowing is used as a sign of respect to elders or people with higher job positions. You do not have to bow to every person you meet but it is better to say hello and simply nod your head.
Culture and festivals in Busan come in a variety of themes, from rock n’ roll festival to film fest, from sea festival to motor show and contemporary art events. The lengthy coastline and mountains complement a lot on the organized events and festivities, making it more memorable and enjoyable.
Busan International Film Festival is considered one of the biggest international film festivals in Asia. This yearly Busan festival exhibits more than 200 films from different parts of the globe. Due to its success, the metropolis is becoming one of the well-known shooting locations for various Asian films. Held during early August for nine days, Busan Sea Festival is another lively cultural celebration, taking place in the beaches of Haeundae, Songdo and Gwangalli.
With a spectacular fireworks display on the opening night, several pop concerts, artistic performances, beach dancing and other entertainment can be experienced during the span of nine days. A number of water adventures such as windsurfing and water sports can also be tried here. Hanbada Festival for the Disabled also adds the fun activities of sea festival.
Right now, it is the largest sea festival in Korea with the participation of both tourists and locals. Another traditional Busan festival is the Cherry Blossom Tree Festival, held during April at Gwangalli. Visitors can take part in old Korean games like Sirum (Korean wrestling, counterpart of Sumo in Japan) and archery, and other games and contests like singing, dancing and drawing.
Different exhibitions are in display with various Korean stuff like local products, food and agriculture. Other popular culture and festivals in Busan include Dalmaji Festival, Jagalchi Fish Market Festival and Rock n’ Roll Festival. Many businesses and banks close on public holidays, especially during New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year, Independence Movement Day, Buddha’s Birthday, Korean Thanksgiving Day etc.