December 27, 2013

Sejongjo Hoeryeyeon - The King's Banquet

The Korean youth have a colour palette consisting of black, grey, and brown. They dress as if they are on the way to a funeral every day, mourning the passing of the last traces of their individuality. Colourful garb can only be found on the mountainside, where oldsters wear a rainbow of brand named hiking gear as they climb the various scenic ranges that span the nation, or during festivals celebrating Korea’s history and culture, where the traditional hanbok dress is worn by both men and women. 

On January 1, 1433, in the 15th year of King Sejong’s reign, a lavish banquet to celebrate the new year was held for the first time. King Sejong was an accomplished leader who funded the development of hanguel, the Korean alphabet which replaced the complicated Chinese characters that were in use until then. Nowadays, the Sejongjo Hoeryeyeon royal banquet is reenacted annually at the Gyeongbokgung Palace to celebrate the king and his achievements and also to give modern man an insight into their colourful past.

The enthralling spectacle consists of music, drama, dance, bows, wine, and food. About four hundred performers, including artists trained in the traditional styles of aak (the music played during Confucian rites), dangak (music adapted from China's Tang dynasty), and hyangak (indigenous Korean court music), entertain both the king and his audience on a grand scale. Food and wine is offered to the king in a ritual manner, with heavy bowing taking place whenever the opportunity presents itself.


All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind. ~ Khalil Gibran