Friday, April 03, 2009


Just an hour away from Seoul by bus is the town of Icheon, which is famous throughout Korea for it's ceramics.

Today I went there to visit the Icheon Baeksu Sansuyu Blossom Festival, which is held every spring when the town is blanketed in the yellow blossom. In total there are over 17,000 trees from young saplings to ones that are 500 years old.

Icheon became famous for the sansuyu flower during the Joseon era in 1519 when six Confucian scholars sought refuge from Gimyosahwa, the persecution of young scholars who advocated a different interpretation of the Confucian text.

Whilst here they planted sansuyu trees, which were often likened to Confucian scholars, which grew and spread throughout the area and it is this story that helps to explain how the flower became to be known as the 'scholar flower'.

The festival featured many events including traditional dancing and music performances, prayer for a bountiful harvest and a traditional wedding ceremony. In stark contrast to this on the main stage there was also a hip hop and singing competition.

I have to admit I was more than surprised to see groups of teenagers breakdancing in unison at what I thought was going to be a very traditional festival, but it definitely made the whole day far more interesting for everyone and really livened things up.

For all the photos click here.