Holi Hai is a traditional Indian celebration of spring and Seoul Hiking Group went down to Busan to join this outstanding festival! 2015 was the 3rd year Holi Hai came to Busan, South Korea’s most popular beach city. The day began at 9am with participants arriving on Haundae Beach wearing white.
The the organizers handed out special colored “paint” that we hope is environmentally friendly. We quickly discovered how powdery it was as a few excited individuals opened their pouches early when one of the volunteers informed us we should wait until about 11:30. They would make an announcement with a huge countdown to get everything started.
Namhae, a gorgeous island of the southern coast off South Korea hosts a German Oktoberfest every year. We arrived in the wee hours of the morning after enjoying Jinju’s lantern festival and I happily awoke to a beautiful harbor with some adorable graffiti painted along the wavebreaks.
Traditional German red rooftops reminded me of my grandmother’s hometown Dahn, a quaint German village tucked into the south-eastern Bavarian hills. Namhae’s German Village mimicked the German style after an influx of immigrants turned it from touristic to authentic.
Before the parade began we happily joined some German men for a barbecue in their backyard. Homemade brats and buns were certainly a highlight of the day, second only to the ongoing party at the top of the hill.
Jinju’s lantern festival began as a bustling Asian market and finished off with a flashy evening display. Seoul Hiking Group arrived in Jinju for my first time as trip leader in the late afternoon. We strolled past booth after booth of locally produced goods and endless stalls filled with Korean street food.
Jinju is famous for silk production and the festival had a display of silk worms at different stages. The last tank showed how the bugs munch on leaves that have been sprayed different colors turning each worm into a colored silk weaving machine.
Wandering through the riverside we snacked from tent to tent before being engrossed by a hand powered coffee press adjacent to a wooden pencil maker. These experts were just a sampling of the local skills that were showcased before the sun went down.
Settling in along the river with a hearty plate of roast pig and bottles of makkeoli we eagerly awaited the 8pm fireworks display. Like clockwork the first rocket soared into the air at precisely 8pm lighting up the sky with a rainbow of colors as the lanterns floated beneath.