If you’ve read my ‘Geochang, my Korean Hometown’ post, then you’ll have a brief idea about Geochang’s history regarding the Geochang Massacre. To commemorate this tragedy and those who lost their lives, the town holds an annual Flower festival (신원국화축제) at the memorial park from late October to mid November .
At the festival, hundreds of thousands of flowers are grown and meticulously molded into a variety of shapes. The flowers used are chrysanthemums, possibly due to the time in which the festival is held, and their reasonably long bloom duration.
There are two main areas to the park: the outdoor scenic walkways and the indoor area, comprised of a large greenhouse and the memorial museum. Outside, the flowers border the broad walkways which are interspersed with floral structures at intervals along the path.
Inside the greenhouse, plants compete with their blooming rival, decorating the area with their unusual shapes. Cacti stretch up towards the roof, a centerpiece made from hundreds of sharp-looking yellow flowers or leaves stands provocatively, and a variety of vegetables grow overhead on a garden lattice, with harvestable fruit hanging from between the square dividers.
This entire process – from planting to shaping the flowers, takes around a year, so by the time the festival is ending, the flowers for next year are already being grown. The process is an endless cycle.
Given the nature of the festival, it is short-lived, and so many visitors are drawn to the festival to witness the assortment of flowers. The crowds bring added awareness to the massacre. as well as an assurance of its lasting memory for future generations. Make sure you take a look at their website: @flowerfestival (Korean only).
Until next year, Geochang flower festival!