In the South Jeolla Province's Yeosu City, this morning of Seollal, or the lunar new year, hundreds crowd the Hyangiram Temple to gaze out into the sea and catch the first sunrise of the new lunar year.
Hyangiram means 'a hermitage that looks out into the sun', as named by a monk Inmuk Daesa in 1715. Inmuk Daesa actually rebuilt and renamed an old hermitage founded in the year 644 by Wonhyo Daesa; that old hermitage was destroyed during the Japanese invasion in 1592.
This Hyangiram Temple, that sits on the eastern side of Geumo Mountain, is one of the four main praying temples in Korea. The other three are the Hongryeonam Temple (in Gangwon Province), the Boriam Temple (in Geumsan Mountain in South Gyeongsan Province), and the Bomunam Temple (in Ganghwa Island).
And today, Seollal, the first day of the new lunar year, the hundreds that crowd the temple's look-out that extends out to the sea watch the sun rise among the winter clouds and let out wishes of prosperity, happiness and health for their families, communities and the nation.
As the new year comes, I just wish that the horrible tragedies in Korea last year won't happen again. But although we had a few things to celebrate last year, I also wish that things will better for everyone this time around.
And as I join in prayer the monks and the crowd at the Hyangiram Temple in celebrating the first sun rise (behind the morning clouds) of the new lunar year, I wish everyone a happy Seollal celebration!
Enjoy the rest of your holidays!
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There's a small commercial area at the foot of Geumo Mountain that is very popular for its variety of kimchi. As the place is next to the sea, it also has overnight inns for families and friends just wanting to relax in this quiet corner of Yeosu in the South Jeolla Province.
Here's their official Yeosu website: