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Haman Nakhwa Festival taking online reservations

March 9, 2024 - 16:01 By Lee Si-jin
The 2023 Haman Nakhwa Festival is held at a small pond near Mujinjeong Pavilion in Haman, South Gyeongsang Province. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Haman, South Gyeongsang Province, on Thursday announced that online reservations will be required to attend the annual Haman Nakhwa Festival this year. This is the first time online reservations are being taken since the festival's launch in 1985, with reservations available for 16,000 spectators to enjoy the event this year.

The county decided to hold two separate Nakhwa Festival events on May 14 and 15, each with 8,000 visitors, in consideration of visitor safety and the size of the venue, the Mujinjeong Pavilion, the announcement said.

The festival, known as “Nakhwanori,” is a fireworks event where oak charcoal powder wrapped in hanji, or traditional Korean mulberry paper, is set on fire, creating balls of fire falling into the small pond at Mujinjeong Pavilion in Haman, South Gyeongsang Province.

Last year, the county was criticized for lack of preparation when more than 50,000 people descended on the venue, causing heavy traffic, internet disruptions and a temporary halt in the service of KakaoTalk, Korea's largest mobile messenger app.

A total of 4,000 Haman residents will be able to apply for this year’s fireworks festival starting April 1 on a first-come, first-served basis at Haman community service centers.

Online reservations will be available for the remaining 12,000 visitors via Naver Booking on March 13 and April 10.

“Hoping to make improvements, the county will prepare a larger seating area for the spectators and install safety ropes to enhance the visitors’ festival experience,” a Haman official said.

Once an event that was little known outside the area, the fireworks display went viral after public broadcaster KBS featured it in on travel variety show “2 Days & 1 Night” and in period drama series “Bloody Heart” (2022).