Every year in the month of January, over a million people flock to the quiet town of Hwacheon to participate in the Sancheoneo Ice Festival. Located about 20 km south of the demilitarized zone separating South Korea from North Korea, Hwacheon is one of the first regions in the country that freezes over in winter, and the Bukhangang River is covered with a thick layer of ice. The Sancheoneo Ice Festival is one of the most famous and biggest festivals in South Korea, and the most popular activity in the festival is ice fishing.
Each participant are give a fishing line, a plastic bag and a fishing zone pass. They are then required to find an open hole on the frozen river or cut themselves a new one. Some 14,000 holes are already drilled on the ice. The catch is sancheoneo, a type of mountain trout, that lives in the icy cold water. Visitors can be seen patiently waiting for the fish to bite, and then jumping with excitement as they pull their catches out of the water. Eager ones go for the hand fishing competition where they are required to jump into the icy waters and catch sancheoneo with their bare hands.
Other popular attractions at Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival includes sleigh racing, snow sculptures, traditional folk games and plenty of food.
Photos by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters via Avaxnews
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