Summer is here! And with it come the numerous summer festivals and events. While most of us plan on visiting a Disneyland, buy tickets for Coachella or search for events in the comfortable proximity of our own countries, Korea is turning her Boryeong Mud Festival into a worldwide craze.
After the lifting of its 50-year ban, Korea made possible the traveling in and out of the country. This didn`t result only in the increase in the number of tourists but also helped Korean industries grow, develop and advertise themselves in an appropriate global way. We have all already heard about the term “Korean wave” and we mainly link it to the already internationally famous K-pop and K-drama but another thing we might be failing to notice is the fast-spreading popularity of Korean cosmetic products. Grey mud is one of Korea`s “national treasures” and the town that firstly made attempts to popularize it is called Boryeong.
Boryeong city is located in the coastal area in the southwest of Chungcheongnam province. It has a 136 km long coastline that consists of fine sea mud rich in minerals, Germanium, and Bentonite, which radiate high levels of far-infrared rays and are known for the excellent effect on the skin. In 1998 the first Boryeong Mud Festival was organized. It lasted only a couple of days and it was mainly focused on the promoting of 16 mud cosmetic products. Contrary to the concerns that the theme of the festival is too specific and small in scale, 30 million tourists participated. It caused a ripple effect on the local economy producing more than 350 million won of profit. The founders continued developing and advertising the event over the following years and to nobody`s surprise the city of Boryeong quickly implanted its image as Korea`s mud capital.
What does MudFest look like now?
Nowadays, about around 20 years later, the festival has a completely different image. It is still aimed at advertising the medical and cosmetic qualities of mud but has also turned in to an event where people can have immense fun at the same time. The Mud Festival now lasts for two weeks every July and thousands flock from around the Korean peninsula to Boryeong. More people fly overseas, some traveling from as far as Europe and the Americas, to experience some good old fashioned mud wrestling, mud sliding, and mud swimming.
Spread throughout Daecheon Beach and downtown Boryeong, the festivities generally begin in the morning, when tourists are ferried in by the busload and are dropped off at the beach, which is carefully prepared with loads of mud trucked in from the region’s mud flats. Various areas – some free, some requiring admission fees – are equipped with mud pits, mud fountains, mud pools, mud massage zones, and even a mud prison, all of which are guaranteed to have you looking like Shrek after his morning bath. In addition to muddy merriment, there are also plenty of squeaky clean events to partake in, like fireworks displays and live performances during the festival’s opening and closing ceremonies. Those in the mood for sports can partake in the friendly Beach Mud Football Competition.
In recent years, as the event is gaining popularity, a lot of K-pop stars attend the festival to perform so it seems like a great idea to combine those events if you want to truly experience the colors of Korea!
Packing your luggage already? Take out the white clothes!