Muju Firefly Festival

By Lucille Bamber

South Korea has its fair share of festivals, spread out throughout the year. They all vary widely; from the loud music festivals like the Boryeong Mud Festival to the more traditional ones, like Chuseok Festival, to unbelievable ones like the Jindo Miracle Sea Festival. Each celebration has its charms and impact on people, but one of the most stunning festivals is the Muju Firefly Festival. A mixture of stunning natural light sources, and impressive light expositions create one of the most unforgettable experiences of the year.

What is it? 

The Muju Firefly Festival celebrates the regions’ fireflies, which are most active at the beginning of September, when the festival takes place. Other than spectacular views, the festival was set up to promote environmental awareness in Muju, where its fireflies can only survive in an extremely clean and untouched environment. 

What goes on?

As most South Korean festivals, this one has its fair share of amazing street food and fun stalls to buy souvenirs; many people, music, lights, and performances...a show! It follows the usual patterns of a South Korean festival, but at the same time, shows ecological preservation of the place. Simply put, it is very easy to have fun AND not harm your surroundings! 

The main event of the festival is the firefly-gazing, where everyone walks into the countryside to spot three different species of fireflies that live in that area. 

Closer to the villages, there are light events that include 3D glasses, UV lights, and more recently, VR games. 

However there are more events that you must not miss! 

The Anseong Nakhwa-nori, where charcoal-filled pouches are hung along the river and lit up, making a huge fiery sparkle, that is reflected on the water. 

At the end of the festival, you can write a wish on a lantern and set it free. Once again, the sky will be filled with lights, and as they float away, for wishes to come true, people leave the area, with an enlightened vision of life, and an unforgettable experience to treasure in their hearts. 

Before the Nightfall

Are you planning on going on a day trip--or a couple of days--to Muju? Worry not, there are plenty of daytime activities too! 

Muju is a county that is not highly-populated, and the drive there (whether you have your own car or take the bus) will give you stunning scenery. Mountains, lakes, greenery, and cute towns and villages are on the way to the festival. If you have time, stop in one of these places and go on a hike, or walk around an authentic Korean village! 

The festival is also family-friendly. There are all sorts of activities for children, from Taekwondo exhibitions and fun workshops, to crafts workshops, to the most popular interactive display, where people can dig up their own bugs. 

And, of course, daytime performances to portray Korean culture are going on all day. Whether you join in to sing Arirang, the famous Korean folk song; or watch the dance performances, you are guaranteed an amazing time. 

That is everything the Muju Firefly Festival has to offer, and even with all of this information, there is so much more to discover! When you visit Korea, will you try to attend this festival? What activity seems the most fun? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Lucille Bamber

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