Annual multicultural festival in Seoul to kick off Friday with 70 countries joining

An annual multicultural festival is set to kick off in central Seoul later this week, with 70 embassies and cultural centers joining this year, the city government said Monday. The 2024 Seoul Friendship Festival, slated for Friday to Sunday, will take place at Gwanghwamun Square, Cheonggye Plaza and the road along the Cheonggye Stream, with the largest number of participating countries since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Seoul metropolitan government said. This year's festival will feature a parade of traditional costumes from around the world, promotion zones for embassies in South Korea, performances from foreign teams and a photo exhibition displaying 38 different nations, among many other events. The opening ceremony, scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, will kick off with a performance from a Korean traditional marching band, followed by a welcoming parade and a "pansori" performance from Laure Mafo, a Cameroon-born singer with French nationality, as well as an opening speech from Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon. The w orld food and dessert zones will be open to the public during the weekends at Cheonggye Plaza and the road along the stream. During the festival, Gwanghwamun Square will feature embassy and city tourist zones, where participants can try on traditional costumes from other countries and buy souvenirs and regional specialty products from the 47 embassy booths participating this year. Eleven countries will be stationed in the city tourist zones to provide information on various countries, including those in Africa. An outdoor cinema will display global films at a special stage set up in Gwanghwamun Square, city officials said. Source: Yonhap News Agency