BUSAN, South Korea – In early May all around Germany, Maifest is a kickoff for spring festivals. Traditionally, it is the celebration of nature’s reawakening from winter’s darkness. The custom involves erecting a Maibaum (Maypole), adorned with sausages, cakes and multi-colored ribbons and then dancing around it, in the hopes of bringing wealth and good luck. I'd say a pole with dangling cakes and sausage is about as lucky as a person needs to get.
If you’re in the mood to experience some German culture here in Busan, look no further. The event will take place this Saturday, May 15th, starting at 2 p.m. at Kyungsung University. Weather permitting, the festival will be held on campus, next to the main Multimedia Building at the front of the school. However, if the weather does not cooperate, the festival will be moved to the main gym, located near the library.
The festival is organized by the German Departments of Kyungsung University, Korean Maritime University, Pusan University of Foreign Studies and Pusan National University.
This year’s program includes theater, folk dance and song performances by the students of each school. Plus, plenty of German sausages and Krombacher beer will be on sale at the event for a great price.
The festival will end with a raffle and prizes: the grand prize is a language course for one month at Düsseldorf University this summer, as well as a free flight from Busan to Düsseldorf, courtesy of Lufthansa Airlines.
The aim of the festival is to raise awareness of German culture and language. In Busan, around 600 students study German in local universities, and another 100 in local schools. German courses are also offered at the German House, located in Jungang Dong (Subway Line 1, Exit 17), which also doubles as the honorary German consul here in Busan.
The first Maifest started here in 2004 as a small, indoor festival. A group of local professors organized it in hopes of a good place to network with those interested in German language and culture. Since then, Maifest has become the biggest German festival in Korea. The celebration rotates universities each year, and attracts hundreds of people from all over the country.
Co-organizer, Prof. Stefan Simon of Pusan University of Foreign Studies, hopes that everyone will come and join the festivities. “The festival is open to all residents of Busan – Korean and expats– anyone who wants to enjoy German culture. May is a perfect month for an open-air festival in Korea,” he said.
May is known as “Wonnemonat” (the month of joy) in Germany, as there are many festivals and local traditions throughout the country. If you are interested in experiencing a little taste of Germany here in Busan, Maifest is an event you don’t want to miss.
To get there, take Subway line 2 to Kyungsung University, and walk up the main entrance. The festival will take place on the left side of the large Multimedia Building, which faces the entrance of Kyungsung University.
For more information about the festival, contact Prof. Stefan Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in studying German, you can contact the Goethe Zentrum in Busan – www.goethe-zentrum.com
Photos by Jens-Olaf Walter