▲ Traditional drummers and dancers entertained the crowd during the judging of a cooking competition. Photo by Alpha Newberry
The 16th annual Chilsimni Festival kicked off with a chanting parade on Friday, Oct. 22 followed by an explosion of fireworks that lit up the sky. This festival was full of cultural events from Kayak racing and singing contests to natural cheese production to cooking contests. There was an event for everyone. Chilsimni Festival, also known as Bulrojangseang, is the representative festival of Seogwipo. Bulrojangseang means “perpetual youth and longevity” and that was the theme of this years festival, “Forever Young.” Chilsimni is translated to mean “70-ri” which measures 28 kilometers. It is said to be the distance from Jeonghiheon in Seong-eup (southeast Jeju), which was the location of an ancient government building, to Seogwipo harbour. In 259-210 B.C.E. it is said a Chinese man by the name of Seobak was sent by the Empereror Qin Shilhuang to seek a herb of eternal youth in Seogwipo. Seobak inscribed a symbol on the rock of Jungbang Falls before he left to return to China. It reads Seogwi (서귀) in Korean which means to “return to the west” (China) and that is where the name Seogwipo came from.
▲ Three teams of traditional rowers wait at the start line. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall
▲ Dancers at one of the festival's opening ceremonies. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall
▲ This traditional group of musicians parade only at celebrations. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall
▲ Ddeok (rice cake) is a healthy treat that festival-goers could make and enjoy. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall
▲ One of the large number of food related contests during the festival included this one reported by KCTV's Oh Mi Yeon. Photo by Alpha Newberry
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