I had a pretty eventful weekend with events going on all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I will dedicate this blog to the Boryeong Mud Festival. (I also visited the DMZ and went white-water rafting, but I want to talk about those in a separate entry).
Korea’s annual Mud Festival was definitely an experience. It takes place every summer in an area south of Seoul, Boryeong. It is a two-week long festival and attracts millions of people each year. Luckily, the university provided us with our entry ticket and transportation to the event, with lunch and dinner also included.
For the few years I’ve been in college, I have never been on the classic spring break trip to Panama City Beach. If I had to guess what it was like, the Boryeong Mud Festival must be pretty similar. It was basically a bunch of half dressed college students swimming in the ocean, drinking alcohol, and I guess the term is “raging” in front a music stage. The only difference is that we were able to play in the mud. As you can see in the photos, there are mud pools, slides, wrestling arenas, and various obstacle courses. We also played a game of mud soccer! It was a blast and I felt like a little kid again 🙂
So why mud? I guess mud has a lot of minerals (high in Germanium and Bentonite) that are cosmetically beneficial. Within the Korean culture, they value beautiful skin and strive for fair, smooth, and soft facial features. For example, umbrellas are used more in the sun than in the rain! They avoid getting any color, since paleness is what they desire.
We spent all of Friday at the festival and I ended up getting pretty burnt. I put sunblock on in the beginning and then didn’t reapply (I thought the mud would be enough of a protectant). Ever since high school, I LOVED being tan. I would frequently get tanning packages whenever I was feeling “pasty.” And on vacations, I was that person camped out on the beach all day to soak up as much sun as I could. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I’ve had a change of mind and now find fair skin just as attractive. Plus, life’s too short for premature aging or skin cancer.
Anyways, the Mud Festival originated to help promote the range of cosmetics that use mud from the Boryeong mud flats. There were numerous vendors throughout the streets with products such as mud masks, soaps, lotions, and scrubs! What came out of the tubes literally looked and felt like mud. It was pretty neat and not a product I’ve ever really considered. I mean how often do you see a mud cleanser in a U.S. retail store? Like never. Eastern cultures definitely put an emphasis on natural and homeopathic products, contrary to our scientific based approach in the west.
After getting tired of the mud, a couple of us walked the beach looking for seashells, stones, and starfish. We also ventured out to a more secluded area away from the music and crowd, where we sat looking out into the ocean with the mountains in the background. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Is it “old” of me to say that this was my favorite part of the day, rather than the energetic, loud festival a couple miles away? Here are some pictures of our adventure.
To top it off, there were jets flying back and forth in the distance like they were performing their own little show for us. They weaved around each other and also made interesting formations. Between the serenity of the ocean and the planes soaring above, the moment couldn’t have been more perfect.