Celebrating King Sejong
By Shim Hyun-chul
King Sejong was the fourth king of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) and is well-known for many impressive things such as having created "Hangeul," or the Korean alphabet but did you know that he was also a lover of music?
The king researched and modified the contemporary music and dance of that period. He also urged court musicians to develop new musical instruments such as the "pyeonjong" (a set of 16 bronze bells) and "pyeongyeong" (a set of 16 stone chimes).
His affection for music peaked at a "hoeryeyeon," which is similar to a modern day kick-off meeting. In 1433 the king gathered civil and military officials to boost harmony and morale.
Last week at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul the National Gukak Center presented an "Oyangseon," a type of court dance. The dance was originally performed as a part of a hoeryeyeon.
For those interested there will be a reprise. A full hoeryeyeon ceremony will be held in Gyeongbok Palace at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. More than 400 performers, including actor Kang Shin-il as King Sejong, will reenact the festivities as close to what actually happened during Sejong's reign.
The event is free for visitors to the palace.
For more information, visit www.gugak.go.kr or call (02) 580-3300.