Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jindo Miracle Sea Festival

A group of friends and I went to Jindo for a huge "Miracle Sea Festival" last month! 

Jindo is an island in my province, famous for its dogs and this so-called "Moses Miracle" festival. 

Legend has it that a woman prayed to the God of the ocean to flee the tigers on Jindo Island, and the god opened up a path through the waters. The science behind the miracle, of course, has to do with the tide. 

Visit Korea, a Korean tourism website, says this: 

Once a year in Jindo in Jeollanam-do Province, the seas mysteriously part and visitors can walk through the sea from the mainland to a nearby island. This phenomenon is caused due to the difference in high tides and low tides, which creates a 2.8-kilometer-long road measuring 40 to 60 meters in width. The Jindo Miracle Sea Festival takes place at the same time as this phenomenon. Visitors can enjoy walking along the sea road, gathering abalone and various other fun activities that make up the festival program. The spectacular sight of the waves parting is widely known and many people travel to Korea from all over the world just to witness this amazing event.

National Geographic gives us a little more background to the legend: 

According to legend, tigers were once abundant on Jindo Island. But when they began invading local villages, people fled to Modo Island. One woman, Bbyong, was inadvertently left behind.

She prayed to the god of the ocean, Yongwang, every day until finally the god told her in a dream that a rainbow would appear in the sea the next day for her family to cross the ocean.

When she went out to sea, the waters miraculously parted and a rainbow road appeared. Bbyong's family crossed the sea to meet her, and thus began a popular tradition among locals and a mystical attraction among tourists.

Unfortunately for us, the tide didn't go all the way out this year. We had these awesome thigh-high waders to walk through the low tide, but my friends and I didn't make it all the way out to the island before the tide started rising again, and we had to turn back. Bummer. BUT we had a really fun day and got a little bit soaked (the water was higher than our waders for a while), so all-in-all I would still call it a success! 

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