Spring Blossom Excursion(花煎)
Hwajeon nori (Kor. 화전놀이, Chin. 花煎, lit. picnic with flower petal pancakes) was a term reserved in traditional Korea for the custom of going out to the mountains to watch the spring blossoms on Samjinnal (Kor. 삼짇날, lit. Double-three Day), the third day of the third lunar month. The name of the event derives its meaning from the fact that people habitually brought a picnic basket full of pancakes adorned with azalea petals, known as hwajeon (Kor. 화전, Chin, 花煎, flower petal pancakes) to the scenic hills and valleys. This activity was more closely associated with women than men, as they watched the spring scenery, ate petal pancakes, sang and danced.
The tradition dates back to the Three Kingdoms period and originated from Silla (57-935). Records state that in the Joseon period (1392-1910) hwajeon nori was particularly popular with young wives. A group of young Joseon women would travel to an attractive outdoor site and pitch a tent for a rustic afternoon where pancakes, wine, music, and dance abounded. Although hwajeon nori was practiced to some degree by men as well, for them it was just one of many spring outings they participated in with a small company of friends. In contrast, women on that day gathered with a much broader circle of acquaintances, and they anticipated the event because it was the only annual formal outing in which they could meet with their peers.
Hwajeon nori was an important outlet for self-expression among women who could show off their latent talents in singing or dancing. A distinctly female poetic genre, known as hwajeonga (Kor. 화전가), originated from this custom. These poems consisted of 17 parts, describing all of the preparations and proceedings of this annual outing; namely, a prolog, laments on one’s fate, eulogy of spring, discussion about the outing, choosing of auspicious dates, distribution of invitations, obtaining approval from parents-in-law, preparation of the picnic, makeup and dressing for the outing, praising of the scenery site, frying the pancakes, tasting the food, singing about the delight of the occasion, showing remorse at farewell and hoping for another meeting, returning home, and a postscript.