Yesterday evening as I headed towards the Bamboo Forest for a walk, I stumbled across a festival. There were tents, lights and bleachers set up on the edge of the bamboo and at the centre was a piece of bamboo wrapped in long pieces of colourful cloth.
There was an elderly woman chanting and dancing over and under the long bits of cloth that stuck out into the crowd. Her chanting was weird and atonal, raising the hairs on the back of my neck. There was an elderly man off to one side who beat rhythmically on a large drum; it was almost as if she was accompanied by a heartbeat. Every now and again, she would hand bits of ribbon to children in the crowd who would dart forward and tie them to the cloth.
After a few minutes of chanting, she balanced a small kimchi pot on her head and danced around the beribboned bamboo three times, taking large, swirling hops as she went. She then bowed and everyone in the crowd clapped and cheered.
I have absolutely no idea what it was about. The banners above the dancing stick man drawing said “Dokkebi Festival.” According to my dictionary, dokkebi means ‘demon.’ Were they celebrating demons? Driving them out? Symbolically giving them warm clothes to wrap in for the winter?
It was all very bizarre and I suspect yet one more Korean mystery I will never solve. 🙂
Here’s one more gorgeous sunset from the Bamboo Forest… I just can’t help it. Every sunset is more beautiful than the last! 😀