Wearing Knee-high Boots at the Sea Parting Festival

          This past weekend it was off to another of Korea’s many festivals. This particular one happened to be the Jindo Sea Parting Festival where, for about an hour, the water actually parts and you can walk from the shore to an island a short distance out and back. Korea’s very own version of Moses and the Red Sea.

         First of all, the most important thing to consider for such an epic occasion is, of course, your footwear.  The Koreans always think of everything and therefore we were all able to purchase the appropriate foot coverings to go traipsing around in the sea.

It just doesn’t get better than blazing orange, thigh-high, rubber boots. 


           We wandered around, eating some delicious festival foods, until we finally figured out where the parting actually takes place. We managed to (slowly) make our way along the rocky beach towards the spot where the magic was supposed to happen.

I was shocked by how fast and far the tide went out.

Some old ladies (with their beers) picked a prime watching spot. 
               Old Lady Pong

        The history surrounding this “miraculous” phenomenon has to do with a little old Korean woman, affectionately referred to as Old Lady Pong.

        It is said that at one point many decades ago, the quaint little village of Jindo was frequently being attacked by tigers.  Many of the villagers were able to escape to a nearby island for safety, but Old Lady Pong somehow got left behind.  Sad day.
        She prayed, and prayed, everyday to the Sea King, hoping to reunite with her family but unable to swim the distance across the water. Her wish was eventually granted as the waters parted creating a pathway to the island. But I think the Sea King had poor timing because she died of exhaustion and stress before finishing the crossing. 

         Apparently she wasn’t too upset by this as she was able to catch a glimpse of her family searching for her before passing away. It is said she whispered, “My prayers have been answered…….the sea route has opened so I could see you now.  Now that my wish has been granted, I can now die in peace.” 

        I feel as though poor Old Lady Pong really got the short end of the stick in this story, but I guess if she didn’t mind then I shan’t let it bother me too much.

        At some points the water was still a few inches deep, but for the majority of the way we walked on sand, so strange. If one wandered too far to the right or left one would find oneself in deep water again. The sea literally parts, and creates a pathway.

The pathway at a wider section. 
Of course this photo had to happen.

All the Koreans were snapping photos here, so why not join in the fun.

          There was even a lovely little parade down the middle with flag bearers and little old ladies banging on drums

           Overall, it was quite the fun (and unique) festival. We all filed back into our buses heading to Mokpo for the night. The mood was most definitely a tired one, until (and only in Korea) the Karaoke was turned on.

Which song?
Sing it girl!

          No better way to end a long day than on a karaoke bus, with 50 other waygooks, singing along to The Spice Girls and The Backstreet Boys. Classic.

15 thoughts on “Wearing Knee-high Boots at the Sea Parting Festival

  1. Wow, I want boots like those? 5,000 won? 😉 I've always wanted to see this, but I keep missing it or forgetting about it. Thanks for the photos.You're one one of the first blogs I've seen cover it.

  2. We are planning to go to this festival in a few weeks. Christine from GRRRL TRAVELER recommended this post to me. Looks like a great time. I've been wanting to go since before I moved to Korea (over 3 years ago) and this is my 4th and last chance to go so I'm finally doing it!

  3. I'm really curious to see how this festival will be treated next year considering the Sewol disaster happened right there. I know Koreans have a short memory sometimes but this thing still seems to linger in the country's psyche.

    However, it looked like a great time from your fabulous pictures. Hopefully they will reopen it in the future and continue this great tradition.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I was thinking the same thing. It seems like many other festivals have resumed, even if they were postponed. I guess this one wasn't so simply to reschedule as you can't really control a natural phenomena.

  5. This looks awesome! Definitely something I'd enjoy. Does it occur the same time every year or do they figure it out as it gets closer? Really interesting phenomenon that I hadn't heard about before.

  6. Wow, that looks like such a cool festival. I really enjoyed the pictures, particularly the one where it looks like you're standing on the water. Awesome.

    I also enjoyed the story about Old Lady Po. She definitely got the short end of the stick! I love learning the stories behind stuff, so that was a fun read for me 🙂 Thanks!

  7. I went to this festival my first year here and it actually fell during Passover, someone dressed up as Moses, AND I found a purple fanny pack with Shalom written on it. In Korea of all places! This is definitely one of the coolest things I've done while being here, but it was actually really funny because I had this image painted in my head of the massive walls of sea parting from the Ten Commandments, so I was like damn you Hollywood for messing with reality! I really like you pictures, especially the walking/standing on water one! Wish I had one of those!

  8. Thanks! I must admit that I also had an 'old testament walls of water' picture in my head before attending. But it was so awesome walking along the path and actually seeing the water rush back, and then having to hurry back to shore because it was coming back in so quickly. Now that you mention it, I think I might have seen “Moses” there too!

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