With the arrival of autumn, a fresh load of blooms comes around and, with them, a whole lot of festivals. Korea loves its flower festivals, and there are many dedicated to the flowers of fall. One of these autumn blooming flowers is the chrysanthemum, and every October and November, at Jogyesa in downtown Seoul, a chrysanthemum festival is held.
With the purpose of celebrating the beauty of this autumn bloom, the grounds of Jogyesa is filled purely with beautiful displays of chrysanthemums, offering both a chance to embrace the loveliness of the flowers and, being Korea, multiple photo opportunities.
A well as being beautiful to look at, chrysanthemum is also one of the ‘Four Gentlemen’; four flowers of Confucian ideology said to describe the characteristics of the ideal Confucian gentleman. In this ideology, the chrysanthemum represents nobility. Because of its history as a symbolic flower, it has been featured in Korean art throughout the ages and can often be seen around the Korean palaces.
This year, the feature arrangements included multiple koi, two dragons, a reclining Buddha and a tree with a sitting Buddha directly facing the entrance of the temple, as well as photo opportunity spots and other simple displays. Visitors could also leave a wish on a flower, which was then displayed along a wall of flowers full of wishes.
What originally began as a regional gathering and Buddhist service has now turned into a month-long celebration of flowers and events including a Children’s art competition, a market day, musical performances and more.
The Jogyesa Chrysanthemum Festival is a beautiful way to spend an autumn afternoon, but it’s only around for a short time, so make sure you get down there while the flowers are still fresh. The dates are different each year, so we recommend that you keep an eye on the temple’s website during early October to find out the running dates.
When to go: Mid-October – mid-November, annually.
How to get there: Take the subway Line 1 to Jonggak station, exit 2. Walk straight ahead and cross the road. The temple will be on your left.
More information: Jogyesa website (Korean)