About Korea: Culture & Tradition
By: Korea Tourism Organization
Nowadays, if you visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, or the Hanok Village in Jeonju, it's a common sight to see many locals and foreigners wear Hanbok. It goes to show how widespread and popular Korean culture has become throughout the world.
Korean culture is similar to Chinese, Japanese culture in that it is influenced by Confucianism, which established many traditions that we see in modern Korea today. It determines the ethical code in everyday life such as showing respect to elders and family. Hence, it is why many people ask regarding age, marriage or status to determine how to behave and treat one another in terms of social position.
Hangeul as a written language, did not have any influence from pre-existing writing systems. The language is one of the easiest languages to learn, evidenced by Korea's illiteracy rates being one of the lowest in the world.
There is even public holiday called Hangeul Day on October 9th, to commemorate and celebrate the creation of the alphabet.
Hanbok, Korea's Traditional Costume
Although it is only worn on special occasions and anniversaries, nowadays, hanbok is worn for fashion, and tourists find the Hanbok experience a must-do during their visit to Korea.
Hansik, Traditional Korean Food
Some popular Korean dishes among foreigners include Bulgogi, bibimbap, and Hanjeongsik (Korean Full Table). Visitors are always treated with a little bit of everything when trying out Korean food.
Hanok, Korean Traditional Housing
There are two main charms to hanoks. The first is the unique stone layered heating system of 'ondol', while the second is that hanoks are environmentally friendly, made from completely natural building materials.
Today, majority of hanoks remain to commemorate Korea's past. Some have been changed in include modern facilities installed, while some remain untouched.
Korean Traditional Music
Jongmyo Jeryeak, is the royal ancestral ritual music, which was played during ancestral rites, and is characterized as solemn and splendid. In contrast, commoners overcame the difficulties of the working class by singing folk music, or by pansori, a traditional Korean music that narrates a themed story
Recently, there has been an increase in a fusion of traditional and contemporary Korean styles of music, to feature both elements of music styles. Performances such as "Nanta" or "Gugak B-Boy" are examples of such fusions featuring traditional Korean rhythms and contemporary rock music.
Much of Korea's traditions and cultures today, have been influenced by growing globalization and western influence. Nevertheless, the Confucian influence still remains strong, and though foreigners sometimes may find it confusing, the Korean sense of belonging, social position and identity remains strong.
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