A celebratory event will be held for one month to mark the designation of academies that were responsible for spreading Neo-Confucianism and providing education in the Joseon Dynasty as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Local government agencies of nine academies inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List will host an event titled “Global Heritage Festival – Academies of Korea” from July 3 to July 31 to celebrate the first anniversary of their inscription, the Cultural Heritage Administration said on Tuesday. The World Heritage Committee designated the academies in South Korea as cultural heritage sites at the 43rd meeting held in July 2019.
The theme of the Global Heritage Festival to be held by the Cultural Heritage Administration to share the value and meaning of UNESCO World Heritage sites in South Korea is the “Academies that have become the flowers of the world.” The festival will feature performances and reenactments, academy stays – similar to temple stays – to enjoy the smell of old books, traditional martial arts performances, calligraphy competitions and traditional academic tests, poem writing contests, and memorial services.
The academies to be celebrated are Sosu Seowon founded by Joo Se-bung in 1543 in Yeongju, North Gyeongsang Province originally under the name of Baekundong Seowon; Oksan Seowon in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province; Dosan and Byeongsan Seowon in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province; Dodong Seowon in Daegu; Namgye Seowon in Hamyang, South Gyeongsang Province; Museong Seowon in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province; Pilam Seowon in Jangseong, South Jeolla Province; and Donam Seowon in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province.
The opening ceremony will be held on Friday at Dosan Seowon. A play of Yi Hwang’s stories will be staged, followed by indoor Korean traditional music and traditional percussion performances. The concert will feature a choral singing of Dosan 12 pieces written by Yi to describe what he felt establishing and living at Dosan Seowon in his later years. The play crossing the boundary between Korean traditional music and Western music will support a chorus.
Sosu Seowon will hold a memorial service for its ancestral shrine on Saturday. The academy was the first academy to be recognized by the Joseon Dynasty. A memorial service will be held to express gratitude to those who made great contributions in academia and politics. “It is expected to be an opportunity to be reminded of the true value of academies that were the bases of Neo-Confucianism,” said a member of the Cultural Heritage Administration.