Take the plunge with the Boryeong Mud Festival 2019
Explore one of the world’s largest mud festivals with Reuters Connect
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Hosting festivals that celebrate everything from green tea and bamboo, to mask dancing and bullfighting, South Korea certainly offers its fair share of exciting festivities throughout the year. Yet, the Boryeong Mud Festival, packed with unique and entertaining mud-themed activities, might just take the crown for Korea’s wildest one to date.
Attracting over five million revelers each year, the Boryeong Mud Festival takes place over a period of ten days, with the final weekend being largely considered the real peak of the event and enjoying great popularity among South Korea’s western population.
The festival’s 22nd edition will be held from July 19th–July 28th with the slogan “Go! Boryeong, Play! Mud.”
The festival’s history dates back to 1996, when local scientists discovered that the mineral content of Boryeong’s highly enriched mud shared similar qualities to the then-costly, mud-based foreign cosmetic products. Thus, a South Korean cosmetics line, Boryeong Mud, was founded using the city’s own mud flats.
Soon afterwards, in 1998, the now famous mud festival – then lasting only four days – was introduced to promote the many health benefits of Boryeong’s local mud, rich in germanium and bentonite.
The festival quickly attracted both Korean and foreign visitors from around the world but gained worldwide popularity when the in Boryeong stationed U.S. troops began to show an interest in it, eventually prompting authorities to extend the festival period to 7 days in 2001.
Within a few years, the mud festival amassed increased media attention, ultimately becoming one of the country’s most celebrated attractions. Today, the event attracts more international visitors than any other domestic festival.
The Boryeong Mud Festival is a rare opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s most exciting mud-themed activities, ranging from muddy arts and crafts, to sports and skin therapy. Visitors can head to Mud Square at Daecheon beach for some colorful mud painting, or, alternatively, enjoy a more relaxed day out with some skin pampering at the same location.
This year’s main features also include three-storey-high mudslides, multiple yacht parades, obstacle races and inflatable areas filled with sludge brought in from the Boryeong area.
In 2013 and 2014, both the mayor and deputy mayor of Valencia attended the Boryeong Mud Festival to conclude an agreement for exchange between Spain’s La Tomatina Festival and Boryeong’s mud festival. Based on the agreement, Boryeong’s mud festival celebrated a day of La Tomatina at its festivities, while the latter reserved a day in its own program for a mud-filled counterpart. The festivals originally began their cooperation in 2010, with both events exchanging banners on their respective websites.
The Boryeong Mud Festival 2019 is set to pave the way for the upcoming 2022 Boryeong Sea Mud Exhibition, a project that was recently approved by the Korean Government. The aim for the exhibit is to aid in the future development of the leisure, tourism, health, and therapy industry, and, unsurprisingly, officially establish the Boryeong Mud Festival as one of the top 10 festivals worldwide.
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