Spring Festivals In Korea
Spring is perhaps the best time of year to visit Korea. Not only is a time when the cold wind of winter has disappeared and the warm air arrives, but also it is a time of great beauty. As the blossoms appear on the trees the country is filled with a myriad of wondrous colors, and this season of beauty is widely celebrated with some of Korea’s most illustrious festivals.
Spring is a popular time to come to Korea, and people arrive from all over the world to celebrate the many festivals, making it a vibrant and energetic time to visit. Traveling to Korea at this time of year is fairly easy. Airports in the United States, Europe and Australia have regular flights to Korea. Most land at Incheon International Airport in Seoul, although it is possible to get fights to Muan, Yangyang and Gimpo. The flight time is very similar from all these destinations, usually 10-12 hours, depending on whether you are traveling from America, Australia or Europe. However, flying to Korea is not the only option. An increasing number of people choose to travel on a Korea cruise as this gives you more opportunities to see different areas of the country, allowing you to make the most of spring and its celebrated festivals. Cruise ships leave from many major ports around the world and most cruise line operators have regular spring cruises to Korea. These cruises usually arrange plenty of excursions, allowing you to visit some of Korea’s most celebrated spring festivals.
Cherry Blossoms in Korea
The watching of cherry blossoms has become one of Korea’s most popular festivals and is celebrated throughout the country. Seeing these beautiful pink flowers bloom can be a breathtaking experience. Cherry blossoms normally bloom in early April but don’t last that long, so it can exceptionally difficult to plan a trip to Korea to see them. However, in most cases if you are in Korea in the first week of April, you should be able to see these wonderful blooms, and this is when most places hold their festivals.
One of the most spectacular places to see cherry blossom is the province of Jeju. In Jeju, King Cherry Tree blossoms are visible all over the Seogwipo’s downtown area and down the beautiful Cherry Blossom Boulevard on Jeju Island. Jeju’s cherry blossoms are famed for being the largest and most luxurious in all Korea, and during the festival, music and other events are held to help you celebrate this wonderful spring occasion.
Another popular area to see cherry blossoms is in the Children’s Grand Park, in Seoul. Over 900 cherry trees are fond within the park, which also boasts amusement rides, botanical gardens and a zoo. The park holds numerous events in early April to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival, which is the perfect location for families and romantic couples alike.
The Cheongpunghoban Cherry Blossom Festival is another popular destination for tourists. Here, the festival is held along the eight-mile road lining the Cheongpungho Lake. Thousands of mature cherry trees bloom each year, and the annual festival includes shows, street concerts, magic shows, dance parades, and visitors can even take part in water sports and bungee jumping.
In Jinhae, in the mountains of Namhae Island, the Cherry Blossom festival coincides with the celebration of Korea’s most celebrated naval hero Admiral Yi Sun-shin. Over one million visitors come to Jinhae to see the blossom, which has perhaps the largest number of trees than any other city.
Other spring festivals
It is not just the cherry blossoms that attract visitors to Korea during spring, as other festivals take part during this time of year. May sees tens of thousands of people flocking to Jeonnam Boseong during the Green Tea Festival. Held each year in what is Korea’s largest green tea producing area, the Jeonnam Boseong Green Tea Fields are famous throughout Korea, not just for producing most of the nation’s tea, but the extremely beautiful fields have been the backdrop in many feature films. During the festival visitors celebrate the green tea by taking part in picking and tasting while various performances are put on to entertain everybody.
May also sees the Bamboo Festival in Jeollanam-do, South Korea, which celebrates the beauty and functionality of the bamboo plant, which has traditionally been used for everything from building homes to making craft work. During the festival, visitors are entertained by numerous activities such as a bamboo Fair, bamboo musical instrument concert and bamboo-cutting championship, while you can also take part in bamboo rafting or fishing with a bamboo basket.
Finally, no spring visit to Korea would be complete without seeing the annual Lotus Lantern Festival, which is held to honor Buddha’s birthday in May. The month long festival is perhaps best celebrated in Seoul, where traditional lanterns are exhibited at Bongeunsa Temple, and over one hundred thousand lanterns, in designs ranging from lotus flowers to dragons, are paraded through the streets.
- Post submitted by guest writer Lily Leigh