Korean culture is certainly enchanting.
On the one hand, it’s home to a rich and mystical, yet gentle culture that will rarely spark excitement. On the other hand, Korea is also home to a fiery age-old tradition which brings in massive crowds of tourists and locals alike each year.
What we’re referring to is, of course, the Jeju Fire Festival.
Get Fired Up
The island of Jeju is a wonderful paradise located off the southern coast of South Korea. It is also the home to a multitude of marvellous UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites including a stunning coastal shoreline.
But come March, the island transforms into a literal hellscape of fire, smoke, and ash. Though you shouldn’t be worried too much about all hell breaking loose as in actuality, the island is the location for the annual Jeongwol Daeboreum Field Burning Festival.
Otherwise known as the Jeju Fire Festival, the event follows in the traditional act of bangae. This tradition calls for farmers to set their pastures alight to remove the old grass (along with pests) with the hope that a new batch may grow in its place for cattle and horses to graze on.
And a usual highlight of this festival lies in the burning of the daljip — a large bonfire structure made of pine tree branches and other logs which are then set ablaze in conjunction with the rise of the full moon. The goal of this burning is said to help deliver the villagers’ prayers for good fortune, protection, and a good harvest.
Additionally, the island also has a number of other events and cultural activities to keep the thousands of visitors occupied and entertained for the duration of the festival. These activities include fireworks displays, K-pop concerts, and even strength competitions.
When To Visit: March