The 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, King Jeongjo,
led the late Joseon Dynasty’s literary renaissance and political revival.
Open the way to the most magnificent and glorious festival in the history of Korea!
King Jeongjo (aka “Jeongjo the Great”) was a good and wise king who always cared for the people, and was also well known for his deep sense of filial piety. He assumed the throne at the age of 25 after the death of his father, Crown Prince Sado, who was confined and starved in a rice chest. He is remembered as one of the greatest kings of the Joseon Dynasty, along with Sejong the Great, who worked hard to achieve political reform and integration as well as show love to the people.
He had the tomb of his father, Jangjo (aka “Crown Prince Sado”) moved from Mt. Baebongsan in Yangju to Hyeollyungwon in Hwaseong (today’s Yungneung) and visited the tomb 13 times in total during the 11 years after its relocation. A large procession in celebration of the 60th birthday of his mother, Dowager Queen Heongyeong (Lady Hyegyeong, of the Namyang Hong Clan), which also would have marked the 60th birthday of his father, as well as being the 20th year of his reign, and which continued for 8 days from February 9th to 16th in 1795 (Eulmyonyun, the year of the blue hare) was called the Eulmyonyun Hwaseong Procession. King Jeongjo’s 1975 Long-Distance Royal Procession Record Book (“Won Haeng Eul Myo Jeong Ri Eui Gwe”) contains all the details of the procession in writing and in illustrations.
King Jeongjo’s 1975 Long-Distance Royal Procession was implemented as a large-scale national event to strengthen the power and authority of the King by reorganizing the military force of his royal guards, called “Jang Yong Young,” justifying and inspecting Hwaseong Fortress which was being built at the time, and to celebrate his mother’s 60th birthday as well as to pay his resects at his father’s tomb. He visited the tomb a total of 66 times during his reign, and those visits did not end as mere visits but rather constituted opportunities to communicate with his subjects. He paid careful attention to the lives of his subjects on the way to the tomb and back to the palace, listening to the appealing voices of illiterate people with their own stories of unfair treatment and other injustices. He is said to have solved as many as 3,355 documented (Sang-Eon practice) and oral (Gyeok-Jaeng practice) appeals cases. No other king would have listened to the voices of the people as much as he did.
The eight-day journey from Changdeokgung Palace to Yungneung Tomb represented the politics of empathy which displayed King Jeongjo’s spirit of communication based on his love for the people, his encouragement of proactive filial behavior, and his attempt to understand the lives of the people and share their suffering. Since such efforts had resonated with all of the people, it would have been possible to present a joyous national festival to enjoy together with the whole people.
King Jeongjo’s Royal Parade, celebrated for the fourth year this year, is to be reenacted through collaboration between Seoul, Suwon, and Hwaseong, and even more abundant and grander attractions will be provided by the participation of Gyeobnggi-do.
It will be a festival that recreates the great science and technology that built a floating bridge on Nodeul Island, Seoul, using small boats (“baedari”), continues King Jeongjo’s dream to achieve national prosperity and military strength via the construction technology of Suwon Hwaseong, which was planned for 10 years but completed in just two years and nine months, and connects the deep sense of filial piety of King Jeongjo towards his father Jangjo, whom he missed and longed for beyond all endurance, and his mother Dowager Queen Heongyeong, whom he did his utmost for to show filial piety by her side.
『2019 King Jeongjo’s Royal Parade』 with a total of 4,842 participants in a 59km-long parade.
We will create a perfect, grand journey and the largest-scale festival in Korea in honor of the will and spirit of King Jeongjo.