Broyeong Mud Festival

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Image Source: baltimoresun.com

You know you’ve got a brilliant marketing campaign when what had originally started out as a promotion for a range of mud based cosmetics takes on a life of its own and morphs into a festival on a colossal scale. Each year, millions of people descend on the city of Boryeong, South Korea, with a single mission: to get filthy at the annual Boryeong Mud Festival. Currently into its 16th year, it is Korea’s most popular festival

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Originally conceived with the purpose of publicising a range of skincare products made with Boryeong’s mineral-, bentonite- and germanium-rich mud, the organisers had invited visitors to slather in the mud to experience the benefits of Boryeong’s mud for themselves. Since then, the Boryeong Mud Festival has attracted throngs of Koreans, expatriates, and western tourists, eventually becoming the international phenomenon that it is today.

TYM-Boryeong_Mud_Festival-2Image Source: baltimoresun.com

Then now-annual event is held in the later part of July (actual dates vary year to year), and attracts over 2 million visitors world-wide. Throughout the ten days of the festival, Boryeong’s Daecheon beach transforms into a massive mud bath tub as hordes of people cover themselves in mud, and partake in a myriad of mud activities: mud wrestling, mud slides, mud skiing, mud boot camp or simply engaging in the muddy mayhem.

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Those who prefer to lounge by the beach can opt, instead, for mud massages and facials, soap-making and a whole string of activities to cater to the young and the old.  The scene is not all just grey and gooey though. Special coloured mud is produced for body painting, leading to an explosion of colours on the beach, aptly mirrored by the youthful exuberance of the merry-making participants. The atmosphere is convivial, and festive, and the crowds are diverse – ranging from party-goers grooving and dancing to the pulsating music blasting from a centre stage, families with young children in the kid-friendly area, to travelers lounging under beach umbrellas, soaking up the atmosphere and taking in the narratives unfolding before them.

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Fun Facts:
-       The Boryeong Mud Festival gets longer with each passing year
-       In 1998, the first festival lasted for only 4 days
-       Due to popular response, the festival was extended to 6 days in 2001
-       In the following year, it was extended to 7 days, and it lasted that way till 2006.
-       In 2007, the growing popularity of the festival saw it being extended to 9 Days.
-       Come 2013, the festival became a full-on 10 days event, and if the popularity keeps up…
-       We are pretty sure we will soon seen a 2 weeks long celebration!

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This is Part 1 of our two parts coverage on the amazing Boryeong Mud Festival. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we talk about accommodations, and other fringe activities one can do while at the festival.

Further Reading:
http://www.boryeongmudfestival.com/
http://www.mudfestival.or.kr/english/festival/festival1.php
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/22/travel/south-korea-mud-festival/
http://www.fest300.com/festivals/boryeong-mud-festival

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