Tags: jeollanam-do (전라남도)

[ rice fields ]

Daewonsa (in Jeollanam-do) and Gurye County

I mentioned another temple named Daewonsa in my earlier entry, and this second site is located on the slopes of Jirisan (지리산; ; Unusual Wisdom Mountain). The associated national park encompasses three provinces (Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do, and Gyeongsangnam-do) and I have seen two of those listed as the location of the more famous Daewonsa. David Mason's San-shin website has a page on the temple that places it in Sancheong County, Gyeongsangnam-do while Galbijim and Light Enough to Travel go with Jeollanam-do. Of course, one quick way to get an answer is to call the phone number listed on the temple's home page; the area code is for Jeonnam, which is a shortened version of Jeollanam-do. Unless there are two Daewonsa's on Jirisan, anyway, which could always be a possibility.

While looking through information on the counties surrounding Jirisan I came across the Wiki page for Gurye County, Jeollanam-do and mention of the Gurye Sansuyu (Cornus Fruit) Flower Festival. Cornus officinalis, known as 산수유 in Korean, is a type of dogwood which is used to make a local tea, liquor, and for medicinal purposes. The Gurye County website says the festival takes place every mid-March, and last year it took place between March 20-23. I enjoyed my trip to the Hampyeong Chrysanthemum Festival in December and was interested in attending another flower-themed festival until I did a web search for 산수유.

Gurye County 산수유 by 행복 나들이 Check out the website for more photos.

Beauty is a subjective matter dependent on personal taste, but the yellow flowers remind me of Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius). On its own this wouldn't be so bad - yes, Scotch Broom is an invasive pest in the United States to the point where it's illegal to sell or transport in my home of Washington State - but since Scotch Broom is my only allergy I would rather avoid anything that reminds me of the pure hell I went through each time its pollen made my eyes go red and puffy. There were times I wanted to scratch out my eyes, if that gives you any idea how bad it got. Sorry, Gurye. Maybe I'll come for the Jirisan Namakje Festival:

Jirisan Yaksuje is a national custom that came from the Shilla period. A sacrificial rite is given to mountain gods and mineral water collected from painted maples is offered to them to pray for safety and peace for the country. This festival is held for three or four days, beginning with an activity to celebrate the eve of the ceremony. People from all over the country gather here to enjoy various events and to drink mineral water that has medicinal benefits. Date: 3-4 days during every Gokwujeol of April by the solar calendar (20th or 21st day of April).

Getting back to Daewonsa and one of the links at the top of this entry, Light Enough to Travel has an interesting write-up from last spring about her temple-stay at the Daewonsa Temple in Boseong County, Jeollanam-do. She mentions a senior monk by the name of Hyunjang who has "been to Nepal many times to study Buddhism and [met] with the Dalai Lama". In fact, Daewonsa even has a Tibetan Museum within the temple grounds. Sounds like my kind of place. It's getting late and I still need to finish my Korean homework, so I'll leave you with a few images of Jeollanam-do's Daewonsa courtesy of anan2000. Follow that link for more photos.

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[ sunflowers ]

Hampyeong Chrysanthemum Festival (함평 국화 대축제)

I started adding some photos to Flickr for the Hampyeong Chrysanthemum Festival (함평 국화 대축제) that I attended with Layna at the start of last month. Don't ask why it always seems to take me so long to sort through everything -- I don't have the slightest idea. As you can probably imagine from the name, the centerpiece to the festival were the thousands upon thousands of chrysanthemums. There were chrysanthemums in a few different colors as well as other flowers on display.

If you were reading my blog back in the spring you might recognize Hampyeong from my trip there last May. (Write-up here and pictures over here.) It's interesting to see a town located in rural Jeollanam-do promote itself to such an extant that it can draw in large crowds for not one but two festivals. As an illustration of that fact, due to the travel time between 의정부 and 함평 I spent 12 hours of that weekend with my backside planted in the seat of a subway, taxi, or bus. I knew what to expect from my previous trip, but even with that I was still looking forward to the Chrysanthemum Festival.

Once you walk through the trails at the front of the festival grounds - located within the Hampyeong Ecological Gardens - there's an area where people were allowed to pick the flowers to make chrysanthemum tea (국화차). Layna and I gathered quite a few with the assistance of a very helpful boy from Gwangju, who kept handing me flowers that he should have been giving to his mother. There was also an area further on with food tents, a waterfall, moon bear statues, a rose garden, and these stuffed toys that I wanted to buy. They're not anything I can see myself showing off to company so I passed on the opportunity to take them home, but you know that if I had a girlfriend she'd probably be getting one as a gift. Nothing says "I love you" like fuzzy arthropod larvae, right?

For anyone still reading at this point, the rest of my photos are in this set on Flickr.