The Korean culture has a rich history of 5000 years and is considered as one of world’s oldest culture. The political severance of North and South Korea has resulted in differences in modern Korean cultures. However the traditional Korean culture is usually shared by both the countries.
It is believed that Tan-gun, had established the Korean nation. His father Hwanung was a heavenly deity. When he came to earth, he transformed a bear into a woman and married her. The couple gave birth to Tan-gun, who started sovereignty in 2333 B.C.; the state then continued for over a millennium.
Traditional Korean meals include rice, barley, beans, fish and seafood in it. Koreans use lots of garlic in their cuisines. Use of ginger, leek, and spring onion is more in Korean food items. During festive occasions, cuisines are prepared for temple customs, for familial worship and at funerals. Well-known Korean food items are Bulgogi (marinated meat) and Kimchi (fermented vegetables).
Koreans use to have five types of teas - sweet, salty, sour, pungent and bitter. Interestingly, Koreans do not have candies or sweets for kids. Supply of sugar is less in Korea and considered as an extremely luxurious item. When Koreans visit a highly positioned officer’s stores where one has to use foreign legal tender, there one can find a poor variety of sugary sweets.
The traditional Korean clothing is known as Hanbok. The Hanbok used by Korean women is known as Chimajeogori which comprises of a wrap-around skirt (Chima) and a jacket (Jeogori). The Hanbok used by men comprises of a jacket (Jeogori) and pants (Baji). Koreans also wear a hat (Gwanmo) and a long coat (Durumagi).
With changing time and lifestyle, Koreans prefer to wear western outfits and Hanboks are worn only during festive occasions.
In Korea normally four religious systems are found. They are Buddhism, Christianity Shamanism and Confucianism. Elders in the family are respected the most. They are greeted with respect and served first at formal meals. Koreans mainly follow the patriarchal system. In olden days, women used to manage home and work in the fields as well. However, the situation has been changed for modern Korean women.
Korean families celebrate the occasions like turning of an infant to 100 days old, the first birthday, the sixteenth birthday and the marriage ceremony of a couple.
The following are some of the events celebrated by the Koreans with lots of joy and gaiety: