Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Each Year Half a Million Gather on Jindo Island to Witness the Korean Version of Moses' Miracle

Whether it revolves around the celebration of spring, exfoliating one’s self with mud, honoring ancestors, welcoming a new year or just being with family, Koreans love any excuse to eat, drink, and celebrate. But out of all the holidays and festivals there are a few in particular that stand out, one of those being the Jindo Sea Parting Festival. Nicknamed “Korea’s Moses Miracle”, the annual festival is as cool (and as literal) as it’s name suggests. 

Every year between the months of March and June the northern portion of the East China Sea around the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula opens up- revealing a 1.8 mile pathway connecting the peninsula to the nearby island of Modo. This natural phenomenon is caused by an event called tidal harmonics. Occasionally the harmonics will sync causing either extremely high or low tides. In the case of the Jindo Sea parting the tides become extremely low creating a ridge of land to appear. Although this actually occurs with the tides 2-3 times a year, there is only one festival to celebrate it- a four day period in April. For 60-90 minutes tourists and locals can gather to dig for clams or seaweed or simply take a walk along the magic-like pathway to the Modo island. 

Originally the celebration, then called the “Mysterious Sea Way”, remained a local secret until 1975 when French ambassador, Pierre Randi, visited Jindo Island and described the event in a French newspaper, bringing fame to the festival and calling it the “Korean version of Moses’ miracle.” 

Whether it is because of the mind blowing mystery or the centuries-old tales behind it- starting April 24th, around half a million domestic and foreign visitors gather on the small peninsula of Jindo to witness the spectacular event. 

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