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Jeju Fire Festival 2015Saebyeol Oreum burns for another year as luck for the new year is kindled
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승인 2015.03.16  14:42:31
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All photographs by Douglas MacDonald. For more of his work visit Flickr here.

Jeju Fire Festival was held Thursday, March 5, to Sunday, March 8, at Saebyeol Oreum, Aewol-eup, Jeju City. The headline act of the four-day extravaganza was the lighting of Saebyeol Oreum itself, which happened on Saturday night.

The 300,000 sq. ft. hill, or monogenetic volcanic cone, is ritually burned for fertility, rooted in a local tradition of burning pastures every spring to encourage new growth, known as “banggae” in Jeju dialect. Locals also believe the flames sear away any bad luck from the previous year.

The festival has been held since 1997, and it used to be held strictly on Jeongwol Daeboreum, the 15th day of the first lunar month, but it is now held in early March for visitor convenience.

In addition to the burning there were numerous events and activities including shamanic rites, competitions and concerts. Photographer Douglas MacDonald has been going to the event for much of the last decade and he regards it as a highlight of the Jeju year.

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