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Jindo Sea Parting Festival

The weather has been so beautiful, this post is terribly overdue. With unbearable heat and monsoons on the horizon, I have been doing my best to stay away from my computer. I have been more successful than I intended.

On April 7th, myself and several teachers from my school headed southeast to the island of Jindo in Jeollanam-do Province. Once a year, due to extreme differences in high and low tides, the sea miraculously parts for a brief period of time. During this time, you can walk along a 2.8 kilometer path to a neighboring island. Like everything in Korea, this event is celebrated with a weekend-long Sea Parting Festival.

Upon hearing about this event, my mind was blown. What do you mean the sea parts?! It seemed like something out of a greek myth. Thought not necessarily nearly as dramatic as I had imagined, it was an incredibly thing to both see and experience. Before the sea began to part, we strapped on thigh-high rain boots and engaged in the celebratory festival, filled with the consumption of many bottles of makgeolli,  jubilant Koreans singing and dancing and, of course, a smattering of seaweed and soju.

Shortly before the sea began to part, a large crowd began to assemble at the physical site of the sea parting. Led by a processional of drummers and singing ajumas, the crowd, of what seemed to be thousands, began to walk along the mysterious road into the sea. Truly, absolutely, something amazing to witness.

What I found most surprising, which, in retrospect, should have been obvious, was that the locals were all working arduously through the small window of time in which the sea parted. Families were knee deep in wet, muddy sand, searching for clams, octopi and other sea creatures. Groups of women were filling enormous bags with armfuls of seaweed. I would venture to say that the huge processional walking through the sea parting was, shockingly, MOSTLY foreigners.

As the concept of the sea parting is rather outrageous, there were people dressed for the part. Moses. A man in his tiny briefs (only). Clowns. An overly ambitious foreigner with a Macbook Pro walking through the water. Unbelievable.

As the sea closed back up, we shuffled back to the mainland and headed to our pension, a mere 50 meters from the ocean to enjoy some barbecue and beers. We had traveled with Seoul Hiking Group, but this time, as with the Cherry Blossom Festival, it was an exceptionally large group full of interesting, great people.

A good time was had by all.

Sunday rolled around and our fearless leader took us to a secluded beach- I mean, totally, completely secluded to enjoy the weather and ocean. Being on the beach… is there really anything better?

Another fantastic korean weekend down. Boom!

As always, thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to check out mine!

Jindo Sea Parting Festival

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