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Jindo's 'Sea-Parting Festival' attracts over half mln, emerges as major cultural event

All Headlines 16:39 April 11, 2016

By Chung Joo-won

JINDO, South Korea, April 11 (Yonhap) -- The local seaside festival on the South Korean island of Jindo attracted throngs of visitors from across the country and abroad, as it starts to emerge as a major cultural event, an organizer for the event said Monday.

The 38th annual "Jindo Sea-Parting Festival," also commonly known as the "Miracle Sea Road Festival," brought together 590,000 tourists to the beach of Hoedong, a small village located in the southeast end of the island. Of the total some 85,000 were foreign visitors from such places as the United States, China, Kazakhstan, Greece and Indonesia.

The four-day event, which ran from Thursday through Sunday, has become more globalized in terms of visitors and portfolio of cultural programs offered, an official of Jindo municipality said.

The municipality of Jindo, located 472 kilometers south of Seoul, said the latest festival has helped the local economy, with revenue earnings hitting billions of won. The total includes 570 million won (US$497,000) raised from the sales of entrance tickets and local specialties, as well as other indirect factors.

This year's Jindo Sea-Parting Festival offered more than 60 cultural events, including music and art performances, exhibitions and hands-on experiences. Among the most popular features of the feast was the torch parade across the sea road on Friday morning, which attracted 2,000 visitors, including 1,400 from abroad.

Another popular program was the "Open Rainbow," or a ceremony where people were encouraged to throw colored powder into the sea, in the hopes of getting the seawater to recede.

The beach is known for the parting seawater, a natural marvel caused by tidal differences that temporarily bare a 2.8-kilometer-long, 40-meter-wide seabed that can be traversed by people on foot.

According to the Jindo folklore, the region is home to "Granny Ppong," a mythical figure who sacrificed herself to save the lives of her descendants. According to the folktale, the gods parted the sea so that the dying old woman could meet her family who lived across the sea.

The region of Jindo was designated as one of the country's beautiful scenic sites by the government in 2000.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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