Seoul Going Green for St. Patrick's Day

by Irish Association of Korea , 06/03/2010

With business recovering from the global economic downturn, one of Korea’s largest and most well-attended foreign festivals has received increased funding to ensure its celebration in 2010.Attracting an estimated 18,000 attendees in 2008, the Irish Festival, organized by the Irish Association of Korea (IAK), was in danger of not going ahead last year as significant corporate sponsorship was not renewed.  The traditional and colorful street parade is a costly venture, and the festival in Seoul had also traditionally been accompanied with a free open air concert and fair.  Nonetheless, thanks to our loyal support from long-standing sponsors, last year’s festival successfully focused on continuing to build community spirit.
“Guess we got the rub of the green again!” joked Kevin Tobin, then Chairman of the IAK.  (Ireland is commonly associated with the color green and good luck, particularly in North American and the United Kingdom.)  This year Namsan Tower will be lit green lights from March 17 through March 20th.
This year the Festival is returning to its prior, full glory  and will feature both Irish and Korean samul nori and dance, Dongguk cheerleaders, including one brass and  three Irish traditional bands, U2 cover rock ‘’n’ roll, traditional Irish music plus traditional Irish dance, featuring exhibition step dancing.  The audience will once again be invited to participate in what has become a Seoul Irish Festival tradition – Irish folk dancing. There will be a full parade up and down the streets paralleling the Cheongyecheon, starting and ending at Cheongyecheon Plaza.

The IAK is calling on all Koreans and members of the foreign community to participate in and support this friendship march and to celebrate Ireland's national holiday by wearing green.  The IAK will accommodate all non-profit groups wishing to follow our bagpiper in our St. Patrick’s Parade as we march up and down the Cheongyecheon stream.
About St Patrick's Day
The festival commemorates Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. It is sponsored by Ireland’s No.1 beer, Guinness, to promote the festival in Seoul alongside similar festivals in countries from Ireland to the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan.  People joining in the festival are welcomed to enjoy traditional Irish dance and traditional music performance, and take part or support the Grand Parade by wearing green costumes.
About the Irish Association of Korea
Founded in 1996, the Irish Association of Korea promotes Irish culture in Korea by organizing events of interest to Irish people in Korea, and that are opportunities for Koreans and other people living in Korea to experience and learn more about Irish life. Among other events, it organizes the annual St. Patrick's Day festival in which over 18,000 people participated in Seoul in 2008 and now celebrating the Tenth Annual Irish Festival.

For venue, schedule and other details for the March 20th event, go to K4E's What's Going On section.

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