Sunday, March 05, 2017

Jeju Field Fire Festival

"This world is on fire." 
"Burn baby burn."
"B-b-b-b-b-bonfire."
"Set fire to the rain."
"'Cause baby you're a firework."
Saebyeol Orem on Fire
*Insert more song lyrics about fire here*
ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ
I haven't been to many festivals in Korea but I really think I need to change that. Jeju's Field Fire Festival (제두들불축제) was a lot of fun with various events, perusable booths, and delectable street food.

While the festival is three days long, the highlight is on the second day when they set the hill ablaze. This year, that was Saturday, March 4th. My friend and I decided to hit up the festival early and we rolled in around 2 in the afternoon. The sun was warm--almost to the point of feeling too hot--and we enjoyed a leisurely stroll past the numerous tents. We saw face painting and colouring booths as well as other areas for crafts and games. Fresh produce, silly trinkets and other objects were available, too, but at the time, we were on a mission to see horsemanship and archery.
Booths lined the streets leading toward the Orem.
A slew of wind chimes that I liked to hit.
At the start of the horse show. 
One of the acrobatic feats. 
When we arrived at the horse ring, I was a little worried since it looked so small. And yet the performers used the space well. Around and around they went, twisting their bodies over and around their horses in intricate and amazing ways. I can only image how much practice and training it takes to be able to do some of those stunts--especially on a moving horse. And all that muscle! 

From the top of Saebyeol Orem, you get a killer view, and for a brief period, a mini-concert, too.
Looking back over the festival grounds.
Looking away toward the coast
Looking at us! :P
It was a long day, and the highlight was still to come. As the sun set, the temperature dropped drastically and my friend and I huddled for warmth as we waited for the burning to begin. I wish we had had a blanket like the groups of people camped out around us! As the day wore on, people arrived in droves and the pathways were soon packed. In fact, there were so many people that my data stopped working. ㅎㅎ. 

When the evening program finally began, it was quite the show. A parade of torches and fireworks built up until at last they ignited the field. It seemed both slow and fast as the fire ate through the dead, dry grasses. The reason for the festival is to celebrate (in a way) the coming agricultural season. In burning the old grasses, we also burn away the weeds so that the year can start fresh. A very cleansing tradition.
Fireworks lighting up the night atop of Saebyeol Orem
More fireworks.
I feel so cool taking firework photos.
The Orem burning...
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Jeju in time to check out this festival, I highly recommend it. Even if you can't see the orem burning, there are lots of other things to do and see. ^^ The traffic is gross (especially after the burning), but so worth it. (Definitely bring a blanket or really warm clothes for evening shenanigans!).

Love and Hugs 

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