Travel Stories

A travel blog for a long-term expat, backpacker, traveler, ESL teacher, and photographer. 

Burn Baby Burn - Daeboreum 

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Daeboreum, or the first full moon of the Lunar New Year, is a fairly large Korean celebration. This year the festival fell on February 14th and began around 3 PM. I managed to get off work early so I could make my trek to Changwon to see a much larger festival than the ones out here in Jinhae. (apparently there is a celebration in every neighborhood, I was meeting some others at this one which is why I went to Changwon). I managed to miss the pre-ceremony but I made it in time for the largest, most important part of the celebration. 

In a large open field near the House of Changwon there was a giant pile of tree branches being held together by a rope. A large banner with in hanguel (korean) was hanging from the top. Now, as the tradition goes, you are supposed to write down your wishes and attach them to the rope. When they light the tree on fire, the wishes are burnt and the smoke sends them to the moon and the moon grants your wishes. Some people attached 10,000 won (10$) bills to the tree and we were scared they would set the money on fire because burning money would be such a waste, haha. Thankfully, the organization took the money down. 

Near the bonfire, there were many elderly Koreans serving Korean food. There was tofu soup, pajeon (the Korean pizza I mentioned in the Gyeongju article), dumplings, endless bottles of Makkoli (Korean rice wine), and peanuts. Nuts are traditionally served - I heard different variations of this event where walnuts were served but apparently they are too expensive nowadays so we received peanuts. Whatever, nuts are nuts and they kept throwing the nuts in our faces that I eventually filled up my backpack with them, haha. 

At one point, a bunch of older, married Korean women, or ajummas, as they tend to be called here, came out with traditional drums and danced in circles around the fire to the sound of their drums. A few of them were wearing odd costumes, particularly a woman dressed in a cheetah printed outfit with gold teeth waving around a fake shotgun (look up). I decided she was the coolest ajumma ever and made her take a photo with me (see below). I joined in the dance at one point for amusement but this led to a ton of older Korean men taking photos of me. That was weird and I decided to just make really ugly faces when they tried to creep on me. Then they lit the tree thing on fire and our wishes were sent to the moon! Huzzah! Anyways,  It was a pretty cool festival! Here are the rest of my photos!