Friday, October 26, 2007
Halloween: Korea Style
I enjoy watching Korean popular culture. With globalization, many western traditions are becoming part of Korean pop culture, more so if there is a commercial aspect. This includes Halloween, with its Anglo, Celtic, and Germanic origins...
Korea Herald notes...
To celebrate Halloween, children dress up as witches or ghosts and go from door to door asking for candy and threatening to play tricks if refused, a custom known as trick-or-treating. But in Korea, it's very rare to see costumed children wandering around at night. Instead theme parks, online game developers and movie theaters jump on the Halloween bandwagon.
Everland, the country's biggest theme park, is staging its "Happy Halloween" festival which will run through Nov. 4. It has set up a new section devoted to Halloween while offering diverse events where children and parents can have fun together.
The most visible characteristic at Everland's festival is its Halloween decorations and installations. Setting the overall tone is a 12-meter-high jack-o'-lantern. Small Halloween character dolls also greet visitors and about 5,000 jack-o'-lanterns have been installed throughout the park.
The jack-o'-lantern is the most famous Halloween decoration. It is traditionally a hollowed-out pumpkin carved to resemble a grotesque face and illuminated by a candle placed inside. The jack-o'-lantern derives its name from a character in British folktales. According to the tales, the soul of a deceased person named Jack O'Lantern was barred from both heaven and hell and was condemned to wander the earth with his lantern. Orange and black, colors associated with pumpkins and darkness respectively, figure prominently in most Halloween decorations.
Lotte World in Jamsil, southern Seoul, is also offering "Halloween Festival," featuring a specially designed Ghost House, a large section furnished with ghostly decorations including artificial cobwebs and 100-odd jack-o'-lanterns. The theme park said the Ghost House is also a good photo spot for visitors.
Lotte also offers an outdoor performance in which characters dress up colorfully a la "costume play" and stage a show featuring the Halloween-themed plot. Kim Sung-il, who helped stage the 2002 World Cup finals opening ceremony, is in charge of choreography.
In Myeongdong, Seoul, CQN cinema (www.cqn.co.kr) provides a three-day "Halloween" screening, beginning on Oct. 29. The films to be introduced during the period are "The Ghost Theater," "Stormy Night," "Steam Boy," and "Pan's Labyrinth."
"The four movies have unique storytelling styles and visuals, which can fit in with the Halloween atmosphere," a CQN official said.
Online game provider Nexon, meanwhile, introduced "Ghost Package" for its flagship arcade racing game Kart Rider. The package has four ghost items that can be used for online racing. The company also stages a special Ghost event for users, offering 20 percent upgrade of game money and points for those who use the Halloween item