It was Hangeul Day recently! So, we teachers were awarded the best surprise gift; a mid-week Wednesday day off. A day trip was quickly thrown together and we happened to notice that a Lantern Festival was happening not too far from Busan, in Jinju.
Sending my wishes off!
We arrived around 5 p.m., so we had a bit of time to walk around in the daylight and also to create our lanterns for Yudeung (floating lamps down the river). This tradition was created in October 1592, when 20,000 men from Japanese forces tried to invade Jinjuseong Fortress. The lanterns were used as signals to bring about reinforcements from a town outside Jinjuseong, and these torches and lanterns floating down the Namdang River deterred the Japanese army from crossing the river. However, in 1593 the Jinju castle was occupied by 100,000 Japanese soldiers, and people float the lanterns today to commemmorate the 70,000 public-private military who died in defense of the castle.
Although creating the lanterns was an easy task, as the volunteers were really helpful, it was still tough to let them go. Hopefully our wishes will come true!
Large cartoon lanterns before they are lit!
Because we were a bit early, we were able to get photos of a bunch of the Korean lanterns in a brighter light. The ones above represented different parts of Korea and other countries.
Some crazy lanterns just before sunset.
These lanterns showed the traditions of Jinjuseong castle, some of them nicer traditions (riding a horse), than others (torture).
More lanterns, these a bit more ridiculous, at night!
These traditional lanterns included a birth scene. Some of the lanterns were a bit bizarre, but all of them were a lot of fun, and required some skill to create! With all the lanterns around, I was a bit worried about a fire hazard, but we were safe.
Lanterns on the water, a bit too bright for my camera.
Along with the tons of lanterns on the ground, many large lanterns floated in the river. They were beautiful to see, and for 1,000 won ($1), you could walk on a floating bridge across the river to get a closer look. The bridge was a bit wobbly, but still very relaxing. And it was romantic. There were a lot of couples; it was a great date spot!
A free show!
Along with the lanterns, there was a stage floating on the water! It was the musical "Yudeung," and illustrated a bit more of Jinju's history and traditions. There was some awesome singing and dancing as well.
Through the red tunnel back to the bus station...
Last but not least, we checked out the "desire lanterns." These lanterns were made by residents in August and contained their own stories. There were 30,000 lanterns in this tunnel.
Keep your eye on the Korean Festivals! There are so many, and they all offer great experiences. To get to Jinju take an Intercity Bus to Jinju Intercity Bus Terminal. Turn right toward the river, and walk down the riverside for five minutes to join in the festivities!
After graduating from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Ariel Rosen looked back on the semester she spent traveling around Europe and decided she must explore Asia. Her teaching job with ChungDahm April in Busan allows her to experience South Korea firsthand and with the bright enthusiasm of all the children she teaches. She is overjoyed to share a class with them and finds herself learning more from them and the big beach city around her everyday.
Read Ariel’s blog here: http://arieldrosen.wordpress.com/