‘Full moon’ walking tours: A slice of amore
City and county governments around Korea are offering “full moon” programs for tourists on the 15th day of every month of the Chinese calendar. The day is called daeboleum in Korean.
Yeongdeok County and Mungyeong City, both located in North Gyeongsang province, offer their own “moon-viewing” programs, as does the Gyeongju Silla Cultural Center, which launched its “Historic Travel to Silla under the Moonlight” program 12 years ago. An average of 4,000 people attend the center’s program every year.
Yeongdeok County recently began offering a “Welcoming full-moon mountain hiking” program, in which visitors can enjoy the scenery along the east coast around sunset on Saturdays.
The night walk takes two hours on a 6.7-kilometer (4-mile) loop that starts at Changpo Elementary School in Pohang and passes Satgat Peak, the wind power station and Haemaji Park. Around 2,000 people participated on the program’s first day on March 11; many were local residents.
“It was a wonderful course and my family and friends were all able to participate,” said Kim Mi-ah, 34, a Yeongdeok resident.
The county laid gravel over the walking path, installed guide lights and built parking lots for visitors. Lights were also installed on each of the five wind power turbines, and a monument with an inscription of a poem by Yun Seon-do, a Joseon Dynasty poet who was exiled to Yeongdeok, was erected.
Mungyeong City will also run a twice-monthly “Moonlight love tour at Mungyeongsaejae” program from April 8 to October 21. Many scholars in the Joseon Dynasty passed through Mungyeongsaejae, an uphill path to Hanyang (now called Seoul) to take the state examination. The moonlight program was held seven times last year, hosting 3,900 visitors. Due to the program’s popularity, the city now offers the event 14 times a year.
The moonlight program takes five hours, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Participants walk between Mungyeongsaejae’s two gateways, a 6-kilometer round-trip.
Along the way, visitors can make wishes at Jangseung Park and eat rice balls and acorn-starch jelly at Joryeong Inn, where Joseon Dyanasty scholars used to stay. There will also be a violin performance at Gyogui pavilion, where Gyeongsang governors’ inauguration ceremonies were held during the Joseon Dynasty.
by Hwang Sun-yoon