South Korea is well known for its innumerable national and local festivals, which have become a part of the Korean life. Apart from the traditional festivals, largely based on its agricultural rituals and myths, numbers of festivals of public interest are also organized throughout the year for remunerative purpose. Among all of them, the Boryeong Mud Festival definitely ranks high on the list, as it attracts the largest number of international visitors. During the festival period, tourists flock at the festive arena to get dirty willingly and enjoy the crazy fun and at the same time experience the benefits of Boryeong's mud, which is rich in minerals. Boryeong is a town about 200 km southwest of Seoul, South Korea, enriched with beautiful natural surroundings, complete with mountains and the beaches. The Daecheon Beach in Boryeong is the largest beach on Korea's west coast, where the festival is held every year, during the summer days. It started only in 1998, and within a span of ten years, it became famous for its exciting novelty and the added attraction of benefits for the skin
It was considered that, the mud of Boryeong is rich in mineral, especially Germanium and Bentonite, which mainly contain montmorillonite. As it emits large amounts of far-infrared rays, it is very much beneficial for the human skin. Initially the festival started with the intention to promote the local cosmetics made from the region’s mud. With time, the manufacturers hit upon a brilliant idea to earn more by promoting their products, instead of spending unnecessary money on commercials. As planned, they arranged to transport the mud from the Boryeong mud flats to the beach area of Daecheon, created the festival arena and named it as the Mud Experience Land. With the completion of the projected arrangements, the organizers started to invite the interested public to join the festival for having fun in the healthy Mud Wonderland. Within no time, the festival became an instant hit as the marketing device of the Boryeong Mud Cosmetics, as well as a new front to earn extra money.
The festival in the Mud Land continues for a period of around two weeks. For two weeks every July, thousands flock from around the world to the small, sleepy Boryeong, to participate the Mud Festival or the Mudfest, as colloquially called by the locals. Spread throughout Daecheon Beach and the downtown Boryeong, the festivities generally begin in the morning, when tourists are ferried in by the busload and are dropped off at the beach.
The festival arena consists of various units, some of the arenas are free, while the others require admission fees. The Mud festival consists of mud pits, mud pools, mud fountains, mud massage zones and even mud prisons. For the more enthusiastic and sports loving visitors competitive items like Mud Race, Mud Wrestling, Mud Pool Slides, Mr. Mud contest and other interesting activities and events are included in the funny festival. As coloured mud is one of the cosmetic products, visitors may also paint their bodies with it, at their sweet will. To participate and enjoy live music, a large stage is erected on the beach.
For further promotion of the mud based cosmetic items and for the benefit of the visitors, the organizers arrange temporary stalls and outlets along the seafront. Various temporary health and beauty clinics also offer their services regarding massages, acupuncture and other treatments using the medicinal qualities of the mud.
The madness of the Mud festival marks its end every year with a huge and fantastic display of fireworks. It may seem to be an absurd and strange noisy fiesta, it may be tempting to dismiss Mud Festival as an idiotic party, a childish merrymaking. But, it cannot be denied that, no one has ever said anything bad about it.