The 18th Gimje The Horizon Festival (by Malek)

What is formidable in South Korea is that there are festivals and events almost all the time and year round. When you’re a foreign student, the university, and the partner groups regularly send us messages to inform us of the activities we can participate. The last festival I attended was held in in Gimje City, Jeollabukdo (전락북도 김제시), it was the 18th Gimje The Horizon Festival (김제 지평선축제) on Sunday, October 2nd and Monday, October 3rd.

The description made by the INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP CLUB (the group that organizes the trip) is : ‘’ As the birthplace of Korean rice farming culture, Gimje has been in the spotlight showing off Byeokgoljae (벽골제), which is the best irrigation facility made in 330 by King Biryu (비류왕) in Baekjae Dynasty (백제 왕조), 1700 years ago ’’. The festival was free and for a period of two days. The reason for why going and holding this event on Monday was that this day was a holiday: Gaecheonjul (개천절), the National Foundation Day in South Korea.

 
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So to start the trip, we must wake up early to go in front of the meeting place, which is , because the road takes 3 hours by bus. The bus was full of foreign students and you can hear French, German, English, Russian, Chinese (Cantonese, I think), and of course, Korean! We were about 150 students so they rent two buses to get us there. Guess what? My bus was the first héhéhé .

On the site, the festival was really huge, and it is very easy to get lost. The first activity was a race for girls only, men were excluded! They call it the “ Swing running competition ( 그네뛰기대회 ) ”.

The activity in itself was to get on a swing, to stay balanced without sitting and swinging as high as possible. The prizes were 300,000 Won for first place, 200,000 Won for the second place and finally, 100,000 Won for the third place. We (as a man) were not allowed to participate. They finally opened it to us later and if men want to try, they receive a participation award instead of money. And guess what it is? It’s a puzzle! Yes, the girls were quite happy.

Subsequently, we were released to explore the festival by our own. Therefore, some friends and I went to the adventure. We did a lot of things like participating in a traditional game, experience Korean traditional wedding. In that last activity, I wore the traditional clothes of the ancient king. In trying them, we took pictures and simulating a typical Korean wedding. It was a great and very funny too. I felt so important, even if it was for 5 minutes.
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You could even find a museum that showed the evolution of the tools used to grow rice. About rice, we also found another place that showed how to grow rice and how to create a mini-mill that is activated by the human weight. I found that kind of tool very great and awesome because we could do sports while cultivating the land. Don’t need a gym with all those tools, and, of course, I promise you’ll never skip legs day again!

After that, we attended a beautiful parade and then Moved to the Kiting flying place where you could get one for free. One that stole the show was a giant kite with an octopus’s head. It was huge, was about 10 meters and take an important place among all other kites.

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From the other side of the kiting field, you could cross a bridge who brings you into a picnic area. That is is very romantic and beautiful. You can also eat (or buy food if you didn’t plan) while admiring the peaceful place, relaxing with friends in a very ‘’traditional moment’’. Later, my friends and I took the opportunity to take photos (for the purpose of sharing it on Facebook and Instagram, of course!).

Finally, after having made all these activities and walked about 20 km across the whole site, we returned to the hostel to recharge ourselves before starting our next day, but that is another story.

 

Article by Malek from Canada

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