The old saying about one man’s food being another’s poison can also apply to attitudes about play. One person’s idea of having fun might not coincide with those of another, but in South Korea having a good time is most definitely being where the mud is.

The 13th annual Boryeong Mud Festival is held during the summer in Boryeong, a town some 200 km (more than 124 miles) south of Seoul, South Korea. More than 130,000 visitors gathered in southeast Seoul to play in 200 tons of gooey mud. Last year, some 260,000 locals and foreigners came to see and participate in this most unusual celebration.

Revelers play in wrestling pots, mudslides and mud baths. The idea is to get as dirty as possible, forget all troubles and throw caution to the winds for one single afternoon.

Festival seafront attractions include: a mud pool, mudslides, mud prison and mud skiing competitions. Colored mud is also produced for body painting. A large stage is erected on the beach, where strains of live music vibrantly sustain the mood.

A release of tension, this unique celebration is like a throwback to childhood; pure fun without thinking or even caring for that matter. Many muddied souls paint themselves with the mud and wander through town looking for playmates.

The festival was originally conceived as a vehicle for promoting local cosmetics that are manufactured with the mud that is considered rich in minerals (particularly bentonites, and germaniums). The mud is taken from the local mud flats and trucked to the Daecheon beach area where the celebration takes place.

Although the festival lasts for some two weeks, the final weekend is the most famous, and this usually falls on the second week in July.

The Mud Festival has become very popular with South and North Koreans, western tourists, American military personnel stationed in the country and foreign English teachers working in Korea.

A giant fireworks display marks the end of the festivities, after which everyone takes a bath and goes home, refreshed and jubilant from their most unusual shared experience.




M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry ( feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.