Saturday, June 6, 2009

071231 – Fireworks in Seoul New Years Eve

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This year, my wife and I were celebrating our New Year Eve’s in Seoul. The main event was held at the Bosingak Belfry in Jongno, which was 15 minutes walk from our hotel. That will save us a lot of time from taking any public transports that was going to be freaking crowded. We left our hotel at 11.20pm and took our slow walk to the main event location. All the mains street heading to Bosingak Belfry closed to traffics. The amount of people there was unbelievable, all the streets there was overcrowded with people flocking to attend the outdoor concert, fireworks display and traditional ringing of the bell at midnight

My advise, if you want to experience New Year Eve in Seoul, be there early and get a place at the nearby café/restaurant and have a few drinks and get yourself as close as possible to Bosingak Belfry area in Jongno.

Taken 200m away from Bosingak Belfry in Jongno

Popular traditional dance on the street near Jongno area.

Toward the countdown, we saw many people start letting off the handheld fireworks into the chilling air and it was probably the most amazing thing we ever seen. My wife and I started to squeeze our way there for a better view. Beware not to fall down, else you will be stampeded to death.

Fireworks soon after the bell struck at 12 midnight.

Everyone was waiting anxiously for the bell to strike at midnight. Koreans start the New Year with the Bosingak bell ringing 33 times. From New Years Eve at midnight, the "night watch bell" rings across the whole nation. Everyone makes their wishes and New Year revolutions. During the Joseon period, the bell would ring every morning and night to signal the opening of Seoul's four main gates and side gates.

Outdoor concert at Bosingak Belfry

It may be one of the most dangerous countdowns ever as one may accidentally fired the fireworks at the unwanted direction and caused harm to other people. Nevertheless, there were thousands of police guarding and taking control of the crowds. Ambulances and fire brigades were also on standby.

After the amazing countdown, we walked our way back to hotel for a good night sleep.

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