JEJU WEEKLY

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Jeju Fire Festival 2016Fire extravaganza defies heavy wind and rain to burn across Saebyeol Oreum
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승인 2016.03.07  09:49:37
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▲ Photo by Douglas MacDonald



The annual Jeju Field-Burning Festival took place over the weekend at Saebyeol Oreum in Jeju city.

The festival is rooted in the tradition of burning old grass and vermin from the fields for cattle and horses and the main event is the setting alight of the picturesque oreum.

▲ Photograph by Eric Hevesy


For the second year in a row the festival, previously held on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, was held from the first Thursday of March till the following Sunday.

This is the date that is thought to be when animals finish their hibernation and begin to come out in preparation for spring.

However, due to the extreme conditions, many of said animals may have decided to put off their return to the outside world for another week. Although any that did brave the wind and the rain were as usual treated to a spectacular festival of food, traditional activities, and of course the burning of the oreum.

▲ Photograph by Eric Hevesy


The festival schedule included a great mix of shows and activities that people were encouraged to get involved in.


Impressive feats of balance and strength were shown in the horseback archery, the firework display helped people forget about the weather, and a band finished the evening with a rain-soaked set.

▲ Photo by Douglas MacDonald


Visitors to the festival were encouraged to participate in as many of the activities as possible.

Tiesha Douglas, who was visiting the festival for the first time, said she especially had fun during the Deumdoldeolgi. This is a strength competition where contestants are encouraged to lift huge and heavy stones. She said the experience “made her feel more in touch with Korean culture and traditions”.

She also managed to see the bright side of the less than ideal conditions saying the wind and rain "made things more exciting because it was thrilling to be celebrating the tradition in the middle of a storm”.

▲ Photo by Douglas MacDonald



William Churchill, another Field-Burning Festival first-timer agreed. He said that despite the “far from ideal conditions.. Once the fire was lit the mood changed to one of joy and wonder.”

Wishing for “peace and prosperity on Jeju Island” as he threw his torch onto the fire, it is hard not to think that during this battle of the elements, in the end, fire certainly won.

▲ Photograph by Eric Hevesy



As usual with this festival, the image of the mountain burning is the most impressive part. Because of this, I’ll leave you with a selection of photos of the event from Eric Hevesy and Douglas MacDonald.

Photographs by Eric Hevesy www.facebook.com/teachtravelshoot/

and Douglas MacDonald www.flickr.com/photos/dmacs_photos/

▲ Photograph by Eric Hevesy

▲ Photograph by Eric Hevesy
▲ Photograph by Eric Hevesy

▲ Photograph by Eric Hevesy

▲ Photo by Douglas MacDonald

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