Thursday, August 01, 2013

Jindo sea parting festival

The legend of Jindo

According to legend, tigers were once abundant on Jindo Island. But when they began invading local villages, people fled to Modo Island. One woman, Grandmother Bbyong, was inadvertently left behind.
She prayed to the god of the ocean, Yongwang, every day until finally the god told her in a dream that a rainbow would appear in the sea the next day for her family to cross the ocean.
When she went out to sea and prayed once again, the waters miraculously parted and a rainbow road appeared. Grandmother Bbyong crossed the sea to meet her family only to die in their arms on the other side due to exhaustion... and thus began a popular tradition among locals and a mystical attraction among tourists.

This is the story behind this festival that happens once a year. There is a huge tidal movement around this time each year when the sea really does part to allow a path from the main island to those on the other side. Think moses in the bible and you'll get the picture. Maybe it wasn't a miracle after all but only a tidal movement that occurred at a perfect time? ;)
Anyways we decided to make the almost 6 hour trip all the way down to Jindo island to witness the festival and it was well worth it. We went with an organized group as the island is quite remote and public transport and accommodation can become a tad tricky if you don't fluently speak Korean.
The island is most popular for the festival and the Jindo dog which originally came from this island and is now a very popular pet throughout Korea. They are very trustworthy and loyal animals.  
You could walk all along the coast while waiting for the sea to part and have a look at some traditional stalls as well as play with some of the jindo puppies they had in pens for the kids to enjoy. There was also a large wall all along the one side that you could paint and leave a message on. 

The sea only parts for about an hour and a half so you had to make it across and back quite quickly if you didnt want to get absolutely soaked. They provided these like knee-high boots that you could buy to protect your shoes and pants when you first started crossing as the water was a little higher in the beginning. While crossing we came across some interesting sea creatures and there were a few marches going on to celebrate the islands history and the story with it. 

Dried shrimps and little fish for sale. They are used as seasoning in a lot of Korean dishes.  

Korean snack food along the way.

This is a shrine to the grandmother mentioned in the story above.

Jindo's traditional soju
Liz playing with one of the Jindo puppies

I was having fun painting the wall :)

Playing in the sea with my cool boots

Before the sea had parted
As the sea started to part people started to wade their way in
When the sea started to part

Once the sea had parted fully 

One of the Koreans found a baby octopus along the way

Only in Korea would men carry around pretty little parasols  

Some of the rocks were really pretty colors

Dubu Kimchi 두부 김치 is a dish of fried kimchi with some beef and tofu - so good