• Wed / 12 February 2020 / 14:39
  • Category: Culture and Art
  • News Code: 98112317278
  • Journalist : 71593

Jeju Island: rocks, wind, Haenyo

Jeju Island: rocks, wind, Haenyo

Tehran (ISNA) - Jeju-do, Korea’s largest island, has long been the country’s favorite domestic holiday destination thanks to its beautiful beaches, lush countryside, and seaside hotels designed for rest and relaxation. Also thanks to caves, museums, markets and amazing food, the island is full of tourists.

It is well known for its natural wonders, including waterfalls, white sand beaches, and a dormant volcano which is South Korea´s highest mountain at the center of the island. Jeju-do, located 64 kilometers south of the Korean Peninsula, is full of parks, gardens, and festivals. The capital of Jeju Island is Jeju city.

Three main components are associated with Jeju: rocks, wind, and haenyeo, the female divers of Jeju-do.

The Jeju people have long made walls with rocks to block strong winds. Dolharubang which is a symbol of Jeju is a stone statue made from the basalt rocks. The second element, wind, invites people to surf. In fact, surfers on the waves are quite a common sight in Jeju-do. The last component, haenyeo, is probably the most interesting aspect. The word haenyeo means “sea woman” and refers to female workers who dive for seafood and seaweed with no exterior breathing apparatus.

Divided into three groups according to their experience (upper class, middle class and lower class), haenyeo learn to control their breathing underwater.

Since 1970, the government has been trying to support the diving women by providing wetsuits and subsidizing medical insurances, but the number of haenyeo continues to decrease every year. The tools the women use can also be divided into three categories: hand tools (knife, small hoe, and sickle), collection equipment (fisihng net, buoy), and diving suit. When diving, haenyeo let out a curious sound, sumbi-sori, which is a unique breathing technique and a sign of acknowledging each other’s presence. In 2016, haenyeo were listed as an invaluable cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO for their contribution to the advancement of women’s status in the community, promoting environmental sustainability with their eco-friendly fishing methods, and for their involvement in the management of fishing practices.

Moreover, Jeju overflows with great food and beautiful sites such as Hamdeok Beach, Soesokkak Estuary, and Jeongbang Falls.

Furthermore, Jeju Island geopark was confirmed as a member of Global Geoparks Network on October 4, 2010. A geopark is “A territory encompassing one or more sites of scientific importance, not only for geological reasons but also by its archaeological, ecological or cultural values,” according to the UNESCO International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme. The GGN programme aims at enhancing the value of registered sites while creating jobs and promoting regional economic development. The UNESCO Geopark Program works in synergy with UNESCO's World Heritage.

Although the new coronavirus from China has reduced visitors, spring on Jeju Island, filled with rape blossoms, welcomes tourists.

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