Nakhwa Nori: A Traditional Korean Fireworks Festival
All You Need to Know About Nakhwa Nori Fireworks Festival

Nakhwa Nori: A Traditional Korean Fireworks Festival

I'd like to introduce you to Nakhwanori, a fantastic Korean traditional fireworks display, which you should see while in South Korea during the spring and fall.

This 'Nakhwa-nori' is one of the must-see attractions before you depart this world. I'd want to introduce you to the excitement of seeing Nakhwa Nori for the first time.

Let’s learn more about ‘Nakhwa nori’, a traditional Korean fireworks festival that will take you to a fantasy world.

What is Nakhwa-nori?

The 'Nakhwa nori' festival is a traditional fireworks display that is held in May to pray for the well-being and good year of the people. This festival originated in the Joseon Dynasty(The ancient Korean dynasty 1392~ 1897, well-known as the backdrop for the Netflix drama Kingdom). Nakhwa Nori is assumed to have begun during the middle of the Joseon Period during the 17th century. The 'Nakhwanori' festival is a beautiful display of fireworks that is sure to amaze and delight spectators.

Haman Nakhwanori fireworks

Korea Cultural Heritage Administration, CC BY NC ND

In 'Nakhwa nori', 'Nakhwa' is a Korean word that has the double meaning of falling flowers and falling flames. 'Nori' is a Korean word that means games, festivals, and enjoyment of the scenery. This traditional Korean fireworks festival is also called 'Julbul Nori'. 'Julbul' is the Korean word for string and fire.

What is special about 'Nakhwa Nori' fireworks?

As you might expect from the meaning of the word 'Nakhwa nori', this Korean traditional firework 'Nakhwanori' is completely different from the usual fireworks display where gunpowder is sent up the night sky.

Nakhwa Nori is a ceremony that is usually done on water, such as rivers or lakes. A paper bag filled with tree bark powder is hung from a tree limb, a roof peaks off the edge of a building, or a riverbank cliff. When the bag is set on fire, the charcoal inside burns away, producing tiny flames all around. The spectacle looks like flames flying across the river, giving rise to its name, Nakhwa Nori, or falling flames. 

Let's enjoy 'Nakhwa nori' right now!

Nakhwa-nori, the beautiful traditional Korean fireworks festival is often shown in Korean entertainment shows, K-dramas, and games. Now, let's check it out!

Fantastic 'Nakhwa nori' scene from K-drama

In the K-drama historical drama 'Bloody Heart', which has been airing on KBS since May 2022, a scene of the Nakhwa-nori appears. 

From the bridge, the fantastic scenery of Nakhwa-nori is appreciated by the two male and female protagonists in the play. The tragic love story of the two was added to create a fantastic scene. To create a spectacular moment, a real 'Nakhwa nori' was used in the scene, adding to the immersion of the audience.

For a moment, I hope that through this scene, you will travel to the dazzling scenery of the 'Nakhwanori' fireworks festival in the ancient Korean, Joseon Dynasty, where the 'Nakhwa Nori' started.

Experience Nakhwa-nori at a Korean entertainment show

The Korean reality-variety TV show '1 Night and 2 Days' aired an introduction to the Nakhwa-nori in April 2021.

Every May, the Nakhwanori Fireworks Festival in Haman, South Korea hosted a traditional Korean-origin fireworks display. However, it was not held in 2020 or 2021 owing to Covid-19. The makers of 2 Days 1 Night aired an episode documenting the 'Nakhwanori' festival for viewers at home to be able to enjoy this firework show.

From how to prepare for the 'Nakhwa Nori' festival, how to make the 'Nakhwa' firework sticks, and even the beautiful fireworks display, this episode contains the AtoZ of 'Nakhwa Nori'.

Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the beautiful 'Nakhwa Nori' fireworks festival owing to the worldwide pandemic, even in South Korea. We may be relieved and delighted by this episode of '1 Night 2 Days,' when recalling previous 'Nakhwa Nori' festivals.

Enjoy a Video Game with 'Nakhwanori'

In 2019, the trailer for 'DokeV,' a PC and console video game being developed by Pearl Abyss, was released, and it became a major topic. It is receiving a lot of attention because it captures the beautiful scenery of South Korea as if it were genuine, in addition to the 'Nakhwa Nori' fireworks festival.

DokeV game stage ⓒPEARL ABYSS

Let's take a stroll down memory lane as we watch the trailer of 'DokeV' to get in the mood for our visit to South Korea! I hope that this attractive game 'DokeV' will be released soon.

When is the Nakhwa-Nori festival held?

The Nakhwa Nori, also known as Julbul Nori, is a traditional Korean fireworks festival that prays for a bountiful harvest, makes wishes, and protects against bad luck. These events generally occur during the full moon. In ancient Korea, it was thought that if you made a wish on the full moon, it would come true. So...

  • February: Jeongwol Daeboreum, January 15th of the lunar calendar, a Korean holiday where the first full moon appears on the lunar calendar → About February every year according to the lunar calendar, the exact date changes every year.
  • May: Buddha's birthday, the 8th of April in the lunar calendar, in Buddhist culture countries, lanterns and fireworks are held on Buddha's birthday. → According to the Gregorian calendar, it is the middle of May every year. The exact date changes every year.
  • August: On the 16th of July in the lunar calendar, fireworks this day is origin a festival for noblemen from the Joseon Dynasty, an ancient Korea, to play boats on the river under the last full moon in summer. → It is mainly mid-August in the Gregorian calendar.

Where are 'Nakhwa Nori' fireworks held?

The Nakhwa-nori firework festivals are held in three representative and individual regions in South Korea, where you may see and enjoy the flower play. The Muju, Hahoe, and Ham-an are among them.

Let me tell you about Nakhwanori's three most famous fireworks festivals. You deserve to enjoy this fireworks display if you are fortunate enough to be in South Korea in the spring or fall.

Haman Nakhwa Nori Fireworks Festival

The Nakhwanori Festival was originally held every year on the April 8th day of the lunar calendar, it's about May on the solar calendar. Sadly, it was not held for the past two years due to Covid-19. On May 8, 2022, the festival finally resumed.

Let's take a moment to appreciate this magnificent Nakhwa-nori fireworks display.

I hope you have a wonderful time at the many beautiful flower festivals and Haman Nakhwa Nori Fireworks Festival in May if you have the opportunity to visit Korea. At the Korean spring flower festivals and Nakhwanori fireworks festivals, you'll be able to experience the thrill of spring that will stay with you forever.

 Check out the above map of Mujinjeong's location in Haman, South Korea, where held Nakhwa Nori fireworks festival and mark it a must-see spot in May.

Hahoe Seonyu Julbul Nori and Hahoe World Heritage Festival

The village of Hahoe in Andong is famous as the 'Yangban' hamlet. The Joseon Dynasty's noble class, known as the Yangban, lived there. You may visit traditional Korean houses 'Hanok,' traditional Korean cuisine 'Hanshin,' and traditional Korean clothing 'Hanbok' at Haehoe.

Hahoe Seonyu Julbul Nori ⓒKorea Tourism Organization

You can also experience various cultural heritages, traditional Korean mask dance, and Julbulnori, also called Nakhwanori. Andong Hahoe Village is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As such, the 'World Heritage Festival' is held in Andong Hahoe Village every September to commemorate this. Seonyu Julbul Nori is one of the major performances during this event.

Andong Hahoe Mask Dance ⓒKorea Tourism Organization

You can also enjoy Hahoe Andong Mask Dance during this festival. The Hahoe Andong Mask Dance Festival is a traditional Korean festival that has been designated by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The festival is held every year from the 13th to the 16th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, which falls in September on the Gregorian calendar. There are many programs during this time, but the highlight is definitely the Nakhwa Nori fireworks display.

For the past two years, people were not allowed to gather, so the festival was held non-face-to-face online, broadcast instead. But It is anticipated that they will hold a huge face-to-face offline festival again this year, according to reports.

Remember the location of the Hahoe Seonyu Julbul Nori Fireworks on the map above. If you are in Korea in September, be sure to visit and experience the fantastic Nakhwa Nori fireworks show.

Muju Anseong Fireworks and Firefly Festival

The Muju Firefly Festival is held in August. At the end of August, you can see the Muju Anseong Nakhwa Nori during the Muju Firefly Festival. The festival has not been held for the past two years, but this year's Firefly Festival and Nakhwa Nori Fireworks Festival will take place at the end of August.

Muju Firefly Festival ⓒKorea Tourism Organization

The highlight of the festival is, of course, the firefly show. Every night during the festival, thousands of fireflies light up the sky in unison, creating a truly magical sight. If you're lucky, you might even see a firefly or two during the day.

The Muju Firefly Festival's English website may be used to find out more about the event and its dates. The Muju Anseong Nakhwa nori fire display takes place during the Muju Firefly Festival but hasn't been updated on the English website yet, so it's advisable to check out the Korean official website as well.

These are the three most famous Nakhwa Nori festivals in South Korea. If you have a chance to visit South Korea during the spring or fall, be sure to check out one of these festivals!

Enjoy Nakhwa-nori!

We took a thorough look at Nakhwanori, also known as Joulbulnori. What is Nakhwanori, when and where you can enjoy it, and K-dramas and TV shows based on it, among other things! We hope you had a wonderful time watching this lovely Korean traditional fireworks show.

Nakhwanori is a beautiful tradition that has been around for centuries, and it's a type of fireworks display that is unique to Korea. It is an amazing sight to behold, and if you're lucky, you might be able to see it at one of the three major Nakhwa Nori festivals in South Korea. Be sure to check out the schedule for these festivals so that you don't miss this incredible spectacle!

If you're interested in seeing Nakhwanori for yourself, I highly recommend that you visit Korea in Spring and Fall. It's a truly amazing experience and one that you won't soon forget. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy this wonderful Korean traditional festival!

Thank you for reading :) 🎇

Yang Junghwa

I love Korea, kittens, kindness, kimchi, and knowledge. I am the Earth and life wanderer who was born in Seoul, South Korea. I wanted to be the Wonder Woman, but now be a quite similar Wander Woman, anyway :) There is a birth myth about me. I was the wonder baby, surprised the whole maternity hospital by drinking up a full big bottle of milk within hours of being born. King Kool!

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