Festival Fun

  

Cherry Blossom Festival

Korea’s nothing short on festivals. There are festivals for literally every occasion you can think of. International films, music, butterflies, buddhism, traditional music, Ginseng root, rice culture, jazz, ceramics, seafood, paper lanterns, soybean, whales, fireworks, kimchi, mountain snow, mushroom, FIRE, sea-parting (similar to Moses), rice cakes, tea bowls, mime, herb medicine, martial arts, wild tea, bamboo, fire flies, sand castles, and the list goes on. I’m not making this stuff up either, there really is a mime, rice culture, & tea bowl festival. Don’t believe me, click here. 

We’ve managed to make it to quite a few festivals.. & had a great time either doing/eating/swimming/dancing/fishing/singing/drinking/or making things as part of the celebration. 

  1. Mask Dance Festival October– Traditional Mask Dance performances in the beautiful little town of Andong.
  2. Seoul Drum Festival October– Dancing and bopping along to some awesome beats, break dances, & traditional style drumming.
  3. Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Ice Festival January– Ice fishing, ice skating, and a vicious polar bear plunge.
  4. Cheongdo Bull Fighting April– Two bulls fight each other, no matador & no death.
  5. Cherry Blossom April– Biked around Gyeongju admiring Spring Time at its best.
  6. Soju Festival April & May– We went to two! & drank & ate a lot.
  7. Lotus Lantern April– We made lotus lanterns for Buddha’s birthday.

Apparently, we really like going to festivals in April. 

The festivals are so much fun with enormous amounts of time and preparation put into each. Something that’s VERY suprising for Korea! Preparation, what’s that?      

 

Ice Fishing Festival

The Ice Festival has my vote as the most impressive festival we went to. The festival is in the Gangwon Province which is the most Northern area of South Korea. i.e. the winters are freezing cold with frequent snow storms, so it’s the perfect place for an Ice Fishing Festival. We had to pick away at the ice and make ourselves a little fishing hole, and stand waiting for a stupid trout to bite on a baitless fish-hook. Surprisingly, 2 people actually caught fish in our group– not me, I’m not nearly patient enough! After the seemingly pointless fishing with hooks and mini rods, we gave up and decided to catch fish using our bare hands. I don’t know how I let everyone talk me into it… you know the lines, “Oh, come on you only live once! You got to do it!” and blah blah blah…but in order to catch a fish with your bare hands, you must be in the water to do it. We were all escorted into a make shift changing room, given shorts and a t-shirt, and marched out into the freezing temperatures to take our place by the side of a frozen lake. The ice had been cleared away to leave a nicely sized swimming hole filled with trout all waiting for us to catch them.   

 

It was FREEZING!

 It killed my feet to simply stand on the ice..while I was still dry! I was shivering in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt next to a frozen lake that I was supposed to jump in. CRAZY?!? As everyone else took the plunge I stood alone too scared to jump in at the look of raw pain on their faces and in their yells/moans. The moment I crawled into the icy waters I lost all thought and all reason. I couldn’t think about anything else other than how much my legs hurt and how badly I needed to get myself OUT. Thankfully, a mini sauna with a hot water bath had been set up for us to sit and soak in while feeling slowly came back to our frozen legs. I forgot there were even fish in the hole, but 5 or 6 people managed to grab a fish bare handed. One guy caught 3.. one in each hand & 1 in his mouth.  

All in & all, Korea loves festivals!

Next festival for us… Mud Festival. Exactly what it sounds like too, one big mud pit for bathing, mud fights, & wrestling. More to come! 

-Nicky- 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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