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Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival in Busan

SOUTH KOREA | Thursday, 28 February 2013 | Views [1692] | Comments [1]

On the day of the first full moon of the Lunar New Year, a fire festival is held in cities throughout Korea. This was the first fire festival I have ever attended in my 3+ years in Korea which is a shame. I recently went to check out the fire festival on Haeundae beach in Busan. Before I ever asked my Korean co-teachers about the meaning behind the festival, I had no idea what all the fire craziness was about. The main event of the festival is Daljip (Straw Heap) where they burn straw in huge bonfires under the light of the moon. The reason they burn straw into a fire is to pray at the same time for good fortune and health in the new year.

Viewing the fire from a distance

 

The first thing that struck me as I was walking towards Haeundae beach, was a plume of smoke that rose up in front of me like a giant, black cloud. After seeing the smoke the next thing that hit me was the hordes of people that were walking towards the beach, but also away from the beach. The fire was lit around 3:00pm and people could come and go whenever they wanted to, as the fire went on till well after 10:00pm. I was really shocked to see such a huge fire on the sand. I have seen big bonfires in Canada mostly in the country where it is legal. I always think sand and fire don't mix well. Sand can put out a fire. The meaning of having it on the beach which I later learned is because it is easier to see the moon over the sea. People were shooting things into the fire and praying while bowing. The closer I got to the fire, the more I realized just how much heat it was giving off. I thought I might just burn standing so close to the fire.

 

 

The Koreans were sitting close to the sea with small candles that they placed in the sand. They dug holes in the sand and placed a few lit candles in the hole. I noticed that some of them put newspaper around the candles so the wind wouldn't blow them out. They sat around the candles and prayed for good fortune with their hands held together. Seeing this was quite a sight for me. I remember seeing the Thais praying and burning incense around Buddha at the Erawan shrine in Bangkok. This reminded me a little of that scene. The difference is that these Korean people are not praying to a religious deity, they are praying because of the Lunar New Year. They are praying at the fire festival be they Buddhists, Christians or even Atheists. Religion doesn't matter. As long as you believe in the Lunar New Year then you can participate.

 

 

 

Jisin-balgi was also performed. This is a ritural where people stomp on the ground to comfort the god of the earth. There was a lot of dancing on the stage in traditional Korean outfits. I laughed when they played the Gangnam Style song and everyone was marching around in front of bright lights and spotlights. They had two big screen televisions so that people that weren't on the sand could see people dancing around. I almost felt like joining in on the fun. I was too busy taking photographs and walking along the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

1

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  que te importa puto May 20, 2013 10:54 AM

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