Korea seems to have a festival for everything. There is a butterfly festival, a lantern festival, about seven cherry blossom festivals, and that is just in April and May. Much like visiting too many temples in a short time, you can also get festival-ed out! The Jindo “Miracle Sea Road Festival” however, is truly unique. Every year around late April [This year, on April 25-28], when the tide is at its lowest, a magical road appears that connects Jindo Island with Modo Island. Compare this map provided by google, with this one the day of the festival.
I first heard about this festival last year and missed it because of Korea’s insistence of mixing the Lunar and Gregorian Calendars on their official website and tourism books. This snafu got me confused and by the time I realized it, it had already passed. This year was different. I was ready a month ahead of time with my round trip train ticket secured!
One thing I wasn’t ready for, is seeing Moses himself part the sea and let people across to the other side. He came out in full white robe and everything. While he missed the Red Sea by a few thousand miles, the people in Korea seem to have still appreciated his work.
There is actually an interesting local legend as to how this road was created.
Long ago, there was a tiger roaming around the Hoedong village in Jindo Island, and scaring the locals half to death. It was then that they decided to leave Jindo and go to Modo Island. Unfortunately, they left poor old Grandma Mulberry, alone with the tiger. The grandma started to miss her family, so she asked the Dragon King Spirit to help her. One day, the Dragon King Spirit came to her in a dream and promised to make her a ‘rainbow road’ that connected the two islands the next day. Grandma Mulberry went to the coast the next day and began to pray. The ocean then parted for a few hours, forming a 2.8 km road and allowing her to join her family in Modo Island.
While of course, the story is legend, the facts remain that the ocean truly does part in late April every year for a few hours. Thousands of people come from all over the world to take the same road Grandma Mulberry took, paying homage to her miracle.
I am not sure if it was because I started a bit late, or the rising ocean levels, but the road is not as solid as seen on some aerial pictures promoting the event. While on posters, it seems that the road parts a few meters, in fact, there are many places that remain submerged, and it is just shallow water. This was bad for me as the water was very cold, and I didn’t bring those waterproof boots many people were wearing. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic event, and definitely an incredible natural phenomenon worth the hype.
Pt.2 coming in 3 days (with something special)
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