World ? Asia ? South Korea

Jindo Yeongdeung Festival


The parting of the waves at Jindo-gun

May 2009 (annual)
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Known as "Moses' Miracle in Korea", this festival in Jindo-gun retells the heart-warming tale of an old woman whose prayer to part the water in a desperate bid to flee from a tiger-ridden island was answered.
Between Hoedong-ri, Kokun-myeon and Modo-ri, Uisin-myeon is divided by sea and because of the difference between the rise and fall of the tide a 40cm-wide sand dune regularly appears as a road between the islands.

Locals prefer to explain this phenomenon through a tale of an old woman back in the 15th century. Grandmother Bbong prayed and prayed to the Dragon King, God of the Sea, to help her rejoin her family after she was left behind as everyone fled from the Modo Island after continuous tiger attacks.

Her prayers were answered and the waters between Hodong and Modo parted. All the villagers were able to return and the family were reunited. Sadly, the old woman died of exhaustion shortly afterwards. In her memory, the villagers named the seaside yeongdeungsari, which means the place where the spirit of the old woman was raised to heaven.

The festival features Yeongdeungsal Nori (a ritual dedicated to Grandmother Bbong), shamanic rites to exorcise evil spirits, the reenactment of the evacuation of villagers, musical performances and prayers for Grandmother Bbong.
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