What used to be South Korea's biggest man-made reservoir in ancient times is now a place where the younger generation can learn about traditional culture through a variety of programs.
The Byeokgolje Reservoir in Gimje, some 262 kilometers southwest of Seoul, is the country's largest and oldest reservoir that irrigated about 10,000 hectares of farmland, contributing greatly to the prosperity of rice production in the region. Gimje is the largest producer of rice in the country.
The 3.3 kilometer-long embankment now overlooks an endless stretch of lush green rice paddies, leaving visitors in awe of its vast size and beauty.
Nowadays, various cultural activities are being organized at the place, attracting many visitors seeking to get a glimpse into traditional culture.
A small group of children experienced and learned about traditional culture as they took part in some of the activities.
The children watched attentively how craftswomen made different items with straws, and they were soon absorbed in making their own artworks. This straw handicraft class helped the children understand how household items were directly and practically made out of natural materials by ancestors.
"It's fun to be here with my friends and make a grasshopper cage with straws," said 7-year-old Namkung Yun-jung.
The children also had fun playing traditional games. Those who were playing Yutnori, a board game played with four sticks, threw the sticks in the air and moved their pieces on the board depending on how many sticks face upward or downward.
Some were busy keeping a Jegi, a shuttlecock-like object made of strips of paper, in the air. The children were using one foot to kick a Jegi and prevent it from falling on the ground.
There were others spinning tops, competing with one another to see whose top could spin the longest.
A traditional game called Tuho was also played by the children. Each threw arrows into a jar to determine who could put the most number of arrows into it.
Through the activities, the children could be educated on different types of entertainment largely appreciated in the old days.
After taking pleasure in the outdoor activities, the children were introduced to a traditional way of learning. Dressed in hanbok, the country's traditional costume, the children enthusiastically repeated a teacher's words in a hanok, or a traditional Korean house.
They learned Chinese characters as well as basic manners and ethics, just like ancestors did.
Their day of exploring traditional culture ended with flying kites on the embankment of the Byeokgolje Reservoir. The children flied traditional styles of kites up into the autumn sky, trying hard to send their kite as high as possible.
The Byeokgolje Reservoir, serving as the venue for understanding the past and valuing traditions in these days, draws an even greater number of visitors in autumn, in particular, as the Gimje Horizon Festival takes place.
The Gimje Horizon Festival is a feast created to enable visitors to experience the joy of harvesting and the beautiful rural environment of Honam Plain, the largest grain producer in South Korea.
Selected as the best festival in the country by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for seven straight years, the festival offers a chance for people to comprehend the country's traditional farming culture while harvesting rice and participating in a wide range of events held around the Byeokgolje Reservoir.
This year, the festival will be held from September 29 to October 3.