Jeju-do (transliterated Korean for Jeju Province, short form of Jeju Special Autonomous Province or Cheju Island) is the only special autonomous province of South Korea, situated on and coterminous with the country's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946. Its capital is the city of Jeju.
Jeju, on 1 July 2006, was made into the first and only special autonomous province of South Korea. The island contains the Natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.
In Korean, do is the phonetic trancription of two distinct hanja (Chinese characters) meaning "island" and "province". However, Jejudo generally refers to the island, while Jeju-do refers to the government administrative unit.
In 2005, Jeju residents approved, by referendum, a proposal to merge Bukjeju County into Jeju City, and Namjeju County into Seogwipo City. Effective 1 July 2006, the province was also renamed Jeju Special Autonomous Province with two nominal subdivisions, Jeju and Seogwipo city. In addition to changes in name, the province has been given extensive administrative power that has been reserved for the central government. This is part of plans to turn Jeju into a "Free International City".
Society and culture
Bangsatap are small, round towers made of many stones. There are many Bangsataps and you can see them near the countryside in Jeju. People usually pile up many stones, making a shape like a tower in order to protect themselves from the bad luck in their village. They have built Bangsatap according to the theory of divination because they believe that geography is very important in choosing the right place for them. It is also a good example to demonstrate religious belief in Jeju island because it is an object that people can rely on putting rice paddle inside the Bangsatap to gather as much money as possible and also putting an iron pot to overcome a disaster and fight fire in their village. Nobody knows that when the Bangsatap was built in the past year.
Hallim Park is one of the oldest and most popular tourist attractions on Jeju. It is located on the west coast of the island.
There is an annual fire festival on the island that stems from a custom of removing harmful insects and old grass in villages every winter. The fire festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month each year. Dal-gip(to pile up much wood) is burned when the moon rises while praying for good harvests and making good wishes. Jeju traditional food is all eaten at the site of the festival. This festival was held 13 times until 2009. The Jeju Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival started in 1997 and become a leading festival of Jeju. This takes place in Saebyeol Oreum located in Bongseong ri, Aewol Eup. It takes up 25 minutes from Jeju International Airport by car. Jeju citizens do their utmost to prepare the Fire Festival so as to pass down, develop and ultimately develop branding for the unique folk culture resources of Jeju. Saebyeol oreum has a characteristic of a complex volcano. It has the horseshoe shaped crater that is both very wide and slightly split. Also, it is rising high with the little peaks making oval from the south peak to northwest. The scale is above the sea level 519.3m, height 119m, circumference 2,713m, area 522,216㎡. Saebyeol oreum, which is the middle size among the 360 oreums in Jeju island. It's named after the saying "it brightens like a star".