Note: Earth Day is April 25th, this upcoming Monday. If you’re in the Daegu area, check out this local festival!
CONTRIBUTED BY JANVIKA SHAH
First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is a day now annually celebrated in over 192 countries worldwide to support environmental protection. Each country celebrates differently and in Korea, Daegu holds an annual Earth Day festival to bring its citizens together and to raise awareness for environmental issues.
On April 25th of this year, hundreds of Koreans and foreigners gathered near Jungangno subway station downtown to kick off the festival. With over 100 booths of eco-themed products and services, live bands, speeches and competitions, there was plenty to do and see.
Participants who registered early for the walking tour of downtown Daegu received a raffle ticket to win a prize as well as a coupon for a heavily discounted Kebab. The walking tour seemed more like a demonstration or parade as the crowd chanted and cheered for the Earth, holding up signs and posters.
The most exciting event, which attracted over 80 foreigners, was the Adventure Recycle Relay. In order to participate, you had to form a group of 5-6 people and register ahead of time as there was limited space for 40 teams.
The team leader had to wear a jigae, a Korean traditional wooden backpack, which we were allowed to color and decorate with chalk. That same person also had to wear a traditional straw hat. Once team names were decided upon and announced, the teams were given a map of the historical parts of downtown where ‘treasure’ was located. The objective of the relay was to head to each destination on the map, gather and attach several recyclables to the jigae. The sorted and cleaned recyclables included Makgeolli bottles, balloons, water bottles and garbage bags.
The winners of the relay would have the most creatively decorated jigaes and would have visited all of the destinations before the allotted time was up. The team leaders got to stand on the main stage and shake hands with the mayor of Daegu. Our team won second place and each team member received a total of 30,000 won in gift certificates!
Ironically, I still had a hard time finding a bin downtown to recycle my water bottles from the C&U. However, the festival gave us an adrenaline rush and hopefully, the hype and vendors left a lasting impression on the participants!