Greeting 2017’s first sunrise with seaside festivities
In Korean, Songgu Yeongsin (송구영신, 送舊迎新) is an age-old saying which means “time to let go of the old year, and turn over a new leaf.”
It may be hard to believe, but the year of the rooster (정유년, 丁酉年) is now only a few days away, and there’s no better time to plan a trip to the seaside to watch the first sunrise of 2017. With all your worries behind you, a variety of festivities await to welcome the dawn of the upcoming year.
One of the best places in Korea to watch the sunrise is along the coastline of the East Sea.
If you are planning a trip to the East Sea, you might like to pay a visit to some seaside towns on New Year’s Day, where you can fish for snow crabs and octopuses with the locals and kick start the year with a warm bowl of tteokguk rice cake soup. Some of these towns include the Jangsa Maeul Village (장사마을) in Sokcho, Gangwon-do Province; the Gusan Maeul Village (구산마을) in Uljin, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province; and the Dongsam Maeul Village (동삼마을) in Yeongdo Busan, Gyeongsangnam-do Province.
On New Year’s Day, Gusan Maeul Village will be hosting a gosa on its beach, a shamanistic ritual offering food to the spirits to bring good fortune in the upcoming year.
Several seaside towns by the Yellow Sea are also holding festivals in celebration of the new year. The list includes the Jebu Maeul Village (제부마을), the Gukhwa Maeul Village (국화마을) and the Gungpyeong Maeul Village (궁평마을), all in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do Province and the Songgye Maeul Village (송계마을) in Muan, Jeollanam-do Province.
The program at Gungpyeong Maeul includes flying kites and sky lanterns, containing messages of hope for 2017. You will also be able to taste a variety of winter delicacies like oysters, fresh seaweed bindeddeok pancakes and traditional injeolmi rice cakes coated with bean flour.
There are a number of new year festivals to enjoy along the southern coast, a region known for its natural scenery. At the Seojung Maeul Village (서중마을) in Gangjin, Jeollanam-do Province, visitors can partake in a variety of traditional pungmulnori games, harvest oysters on the beach and try their hand at making seaweed sheets.
The Annam Maeul Village (안남마을) in Goheung, Jeollanam-do Province has fun activities in store for young children, such as collecting shellfish in the region’s mud flats. Meanwhile, at the Yegok Maeul Village (예곡마을) in Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do Province, visitors can go boat fishing and collect fusiforme seaweed (톳) with the locals, a type of seaweed that is typically dull green when cultivated in the wild. While in Tongyeong, it is a good idea to visit the famous Mangsan Mountain (망산, 望山) by Geoje-do Island and admire the winter wonderland from its peak.
By Lee Hana
Korea.net Staff Writer
Photos: Jeon Han, Korea.net Photographer, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries