Enjoy Spring in Korea!
Spring in Korea is the most interesting season and for many good reasons that I’m going to explain. Signs always remind us of spring’s arrival but the first indicator is the smell. Not a bad one but more like the scent encountered upon that first walk into a botanical garden. The air seems renewed and ready for growth. Instead of freezing cold, the breezes are welcoming and telling us to come outside.
Festivals and Flowers
No matter what’s blooming or not, festivals remind everyone that the vernal equinox has passed or is on its way. The west celebrates St. Patrick’s Day right before the new season begins and the Jewish World celebrates Passover, which includes spring-cleaning. With spring in Korea, it’s time for the big season of festivals to kick off.
A visit to the Gurye Sansuyu Festival in South Jeolla Province an awesome experience. Of course, we had to pose as amateur photographers in order to tag along. And at the same time, the Gwangyang Maehwa Festival was another great experience. Unfortunately, the flowers hadn’t awoken when we attended back in 2012, thanks to changing climate and shy flowers.
But those two barely scratch the surface of Korea’s spring festivals. People travel far and wide to the cherry blossom hotspots and topping the list of places to see them is in Jinhae. The crowds might overwhelm but the sights make this one worth the journey. Lovely flowers bring some much-needed color back to the landscape after Korea’s dreary winter months. Unfortunately, other things reappear during the spring as well.
One website many health-conscious expats always have bookmarked is the Yellow Sand/Asian Dust Monitor provided by the Korean Meteorological Administration. The dust comes largely from the deserts shared by China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and the sand’s intensity varies by year. While many people imagine a Wild West or Dust Bowl scenario, they might be let down when the dust is hardly visible unless one attempts long distance viewing.
It simply looks like a haze that is quite common in densely populated areas. Its first recorded mention came in the 2nd Century and has grown increasingly harmful due to increasing pollutants coming along for the ride. The dust is the only part of spring in Korea that upon exiting, would not receive honorable mention.
Escape from Inside!
One saddening reminder during winter is the dead and barren look outside. Hiking is a great way to exercise even during the colder months in this coastal outpost but definitely not a photogenic time. Spring renews it all and things come back to life.
Winter’s bleakness provides ample time for reading books and having coffee at a local shop, our home away from home. And being indoors for maybe an afternoon or evening at a time is okay, but come on! It’s not in yours truly’s blood to stay inside and winter forces a sort of hibernation mode upon me. It becomes both a depressing and unhealthy time when considering the lack of sunshine and exercise that is common during the cold months.
Get Out There!
Spring isn’t perfect, no matter where one lives. Predicting the weather forecast is a crapshoot and yes, the dust doesn’t help. But aside from those less than sunny prospects looming over the horizon, spring will always lift my spirits regardless of where I am or what is happening nearby. So with that said, get outside and enjoy spring! Surely there’s something to do in your area. If not, go somewhere else. Get out there and see what spring has to offer. If nothing else, it’ll be more interesting than sitting inside.
Spring in Korea might have a few headaches that come with it but honestly, what do you think of it? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section!