Ipdong: the beginning of winter
Koreans traditionally divide the year into 24 seasons. Yesterday was the beginning of Ipdong, the first of the six winter seasons. The climate on Jeju is milder than mainland Korea, due to its southerly latitude and warm ocean currents, but Mount Halla, at almost 2000 metres above sea level, usually has snow lying for at least three months of the year. Last Monday it received its first snowfall of the season, a full fortnight earlier than last year.
Even at sea-level, I was pretty cold by the time the closing concert of the Jeju Olle Walking Festival started at 5pm yesterday evening. I had walked almost 20km in the rain, along with several hundred others, stopping for octopus porridge for lunch and buckwheat pancakes filled with radish for tea, and entertainment of all kinds: a traditional Silla dynasty wedding ceremony, yoga, children’s choirs, and a ballad about the loss of life in the 4.3 Jeju massacres.