Legend of the Crepe Myrtle, photographs by Mikyoung Cha
Mikyoung Cha is a graduate in Oriental Painting from Hyosung Women’s University, Daegu, South Korea. She has participated in a number of group art exhibitions in South Korea and Japan. In 2016 she took up photography – the camera becoming her paint brush. This globe trotting photographer is a regular contributor to Live Encounters Magazine.
A symbol of love and devotion unto death.
The crepe myrtle tree is called Bearong Namu in Korean. It means that the tree flowers for a hundred days. These waiflike flowers are, according to legend, the incarnation of a maiden who waited in vain for a hundred days for her hero to return and then she died heart broken. The hero was away on a quest to slay the monster serpent imugi. As he set out to sea, the hero told the maiden that if he succeeded he would return with a white banner, and with a red banner if he failed. But the banner was indeed white, stained red with the monster’s blood when it was slain. From the maiden’s tomb bloomed red flowers, the maiden’s devoted 100 day prayer for the hero’s return materialized as beautiful blossoms. The flowers came to be called Bearong, or red for a hundred days. So unlike other flowers, the crepe myrtle stays in bloom for a long time in summer.
These photographs are of the crepe myrtle in full bloom at Byeongsan Seawon in Andong. South Korea.
© Mikyoung Cha