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6 Common & Crazy Rules About School in South Korea

Whether you’re planning to teach English at a public or private school in South Korea, once you start teaching English at school, you’ll definitely notice that there are many differences between Korea and your country. You may find this article helpful if you want to know six vital Korean school rules along with the important cultural insight of each rule. Let’s have a look at Korean school rules with KoreanClass101!

School

1. 6 Korean School Rules that You Need to Know

1- You Don’t Go to School on Saturdays, But You are Expected to do Yaja

Students used to go to school on Saturdays; this was simply to maximize the study time. However, this law changed in 2000, meaning that students don’t go to school on Saturdays anymore in South Korea.

Although you no longer need to go to school on Saturdays, you are expected to attend 야자 (yaja). This is an abbreviation for 야간자율학습 (yaganjayulhakseup) meaning “Night self-learning” which is a self-learning program held at school. This system used to be mandatory back in the old days, however nowadays students can choose whether to do 야자 (yaja) or not. What you need to do during 야자타임 (yajataim) or “night self-learning time” is to study in a quiet classroom. You can do your 숙제 (sukje) or “homework,” or work on the areas that you need to improve on by planning your own study strategy.
Also, if your friend is good at a subject that you’re not so good at, she or he can teach you the subject during 야자타임 (yajataim) as well. If you’re in the last year of high school or middle school, you’ll most likely do 야자 (yaja) voluntarily.

Vocabulary List
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

  • 야자 (yaja): “night self-learning” [Image]
  • 야자타임 (yajataim): “night self-learning time”
  • 숙제 (sukje): “homework”

2- You Need to Take Off Your Shoes when Entering the School

When you enter a house in South Korea, you must take off your shoes before entering the house. This principle applies to schools in South Korea as well. Once you enter the school, you must take off your shoes and wear 슬리퍼 (seullipeo) meaning “slippers” or 실내화 (sillaehwa) meaning “indoor shoes.”
신발장 (sinbaljang) or “the shoes cabinets” are placed by the entrance of the school building. This is done in order to keep the floor clean. If you forget to wear 슬리퍼 (seullipeo) or 실내화 (sillaehwa)—because you washed them at home, for example—you’ll most likely lose a few points for not abiding by the school rule.
Depending on the school, the choice of the slipper or indoor shoe design or model differs. Therefore, it’s important to wait until the school announces which model and design you need to wear. In order to ensure purchasing the right indoor shoes, you’ll need to go to 문방구 (munbanggu) or the “stationery store,” which is located right outside the school, to purchase these models.

Vocabulary List
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

  • 슬리퍼 (seullipeo): “slippers” — [Image]
  • 실내화 (sillaehwa): “indoor shoes” — [Image]
  • 신발장 (sinbaljang): “shoes cabinet”
  • 문방구 (munbanggu): “stationary store” — Synonym is 문방구점 (munbanggujeom)
  • Do you want to improve your vocabulary skills? Download our free PDF Lessons.

Check Uniform

3- Teachers and 선도부 (seondobu) will Stand at the Doorway to Check Your Uniform

Imagine every time you enter the school door, there’ll be about five to six students, and a teacher, who will look at each student from head to toe to ensure they’re wearing their uniform properly. It does sound scary, doesn’t it?

Most of the time, the teacher who does this is 체육선생님 (cheyukseonsaengnim) or a “physical education teacher” (a.k.a. the scariest teacher at school) and called 학주 (hakju), short for 학생주임 (haksaengjuim). Also, the students who are doing this are either 반장 (banjang) meaning “class president” or 부반장 (bubanjang) meaning “class vice president” from the final year of school. They are the most respected students among others because they are known as the top students and called 선도부 (seondobu) or 바른생활부 (bareunsaenghwalbu) meaning ‘leading group’ literally which is similar to a student council.

They’ll check each student for the following:

  • Isn’t wearing any 악세사리 (aksesari) or “accessories,” including invisible plastic earrings
  • Isn’t wearing any 화장 (hwajang) or “makeup,” including whitening sunscreen
  • Is wearing hair style that’s in line with the school rules
  • Length of the skirt is below knees

The rules differ depending on which school you go to; some schools may be a lot stricter than other schools, especially if you go to only girls’ or boys’ school. Also, if you neglect to follow a rule, you’ll end up losing points, which will affect your final score at the end of the semester or year. Some things that may cause you to lose points are:

  • If you wear earrings, piercings, bracelets, and so on: -5 points
  • If you’re not wearing your nametag: -3 points
  • If you wear makeup: -5 points
  • And the list could go on

This is just to give you an idea of how students lose their marks; these points differ depending on the school. You don’t want to lose marks for small things like this, so students do their best to follow the rules. During the final exams, students become extremely sensitive to their grades; therefore, sometimes a teacher will make them run the 운동장 (undongjang) or “schoolyard” a number of times for punishment, instead of making them lose points.

Vocabulary List
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

  • 선배 (seonbae): “one’s senior in school; senior”
  • 체육선생님 (cheyukseonsaengnim): “physical education teacher”
  • 악세사리 (aksesari): “accessories”
  • 화장 (hwajang): “makeup” — Synonym is 메이크업 (meikeueop)
  • 반장 (banjang): “class president”
  • 운동장 (undongjang): “playground”

Choose Seat

4 - Your Height Matters when it Comes to Choosing a Seat

Depending on which city you’re from, the number of students in a class differs, ranging from 15 to 35 students. Did you know that you can’t sit anywhere you want to at any school (accept universities) in South Korea? Each student is allocated to a seat and this is done by how tall you are compared to other students. The method for doing this is that students need to line up in order of height. Then, each student will be seated in their height order. Those who are shorter end up sitting in the front row, and those who are taller end up sitting in the last row.

In addition, you’ll have a personal 출석번호 (chulseokbeonho), meaning “attendance number” literally, throughout the year and this is done by height order as well. For example, if there are 35 students in your class and you’re the shortest, then your number will be 번 (ilbeon) meaning “number 1” and if you’re the tallest, your personal number will be 삼십오번 (samsibobeon) meaning “number 35.”

It’s important to remember your personal number because teachers call you by either your name or your personal number. For example, let’s say you’re in a 수학교실 (suhakgyosil) or “math class” and the teacher wrote down two mathematical equations to be solved by students. Today is 8월 15일 (parwol siboil) meaning “August 15th”; who will most likely go to the front and solve the questions? That’s right. The two students whose personal numbers are number 8 and 15.

Also, the teacher may order students to do something, such as cleaning or other tasks, by 짝수 (jjaksu) or “even numbers” and 홀수 (holsu) or “odd numbers” as well. Therefore, having your personal number is very important at school. Also, keep in mind that you’ll receive a different number every year.

Vocabulary List
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

  • 수학 (suhak): “math”
  • 교실 (gyosil): “class”
  • 8월15일 (parwol siboil): “August 15th”
  • 짝수 (jjaksu): “even numbers”
  • 홀수 (holsu): “odd numbers”
  • KoreanClass101 has a free lesson on how to calculate numbers in Korean.

No Dating Your Schoolmate

5- No Dating Your Schoolmate

Teachers believe that dating in school will affect students’ study, therefore dating your schoolmate is not allowed during your studies. This may not be obvious if you attend only girls’ or boys’ high school, but if you attend co-schools, you’ll need to be extra careful not to get caught. Dating your schoolmate is a serious issue at school, resulting in 징계 (jinggye’) meaning “disciplinary punishment” or 퇴학 (toehak) meaning “expel from school.”

81% of middle and high schools don’t allow students to date anyone in South Korea. Unfortunately, dating in school is perceived as unethical behavior. Schools sometimes survey students to report students who are dating in school secretly, and they will be rewarded. Also there was a big issue in 2011, when a school surveyed the students to report same-sex dating.

Vocabulary List
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

  • 학교 (hakgyo): “school”
  • 연애 (yeonae): “dating”
  • 징계 (jinggye): “disciplinary punishment”
  • 퇴학 (toehak): “expel from school”

Bathroom

6- You Need Permission to go to the Bathroom and Must Take Your Own Sanitary Products

When you want to go to the 화장실 (hwajangsil) or “bathroom,” you need to ask permission from a 선생님 (seonsaengnim) or “teacher.” All you need to do is raise your hand to catch attention from the teacher and ask whether you can go to the bathroom. Unless you’re in the middle of an exam, most of the time the teachers will let you go to the bathroom.

Here’s the phrases you can use:

선생님, 화장실 가도 돼요?
Seon-saeng-nim, hwa-jang-sil gado dwae-yo?
“Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?”

Also, there’s no 휴지 (hyuji) or “toilet paper” available at school, therefore it’s your responsibility to bring your own sanitary products to South Korean schools. But don’t worry; you can easily find toilet paper in your classroom that you can use. (Yes, we use toilet paper for many purposes, such as blowing our nose or wiping dirty stuff off the desk, and so on.)

Vocabulary List
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

  • 화장실 (hwajangsil): “bathroom”
  • 선생님 (seonsaengnim): “teacher”
  • 휴지 (hyuji): “tissue” — Synonym is 두루마리 휴지 (durumari hyuji) meaning “toilet paper”

Bow

2. Bonus Rules: An Old Rule and Additional Rules

1- Students Used to Bow to a Teacher Every Class

This rule became prohibited a few years ago, but students used to bow to a teacher in every class, before and after the class in school. Students were expected to sit and prepare a textbook and a notebook on the desks before class. Unlike some countries where students need to move from class to class for their subjects, students in South Korea have their own classroom for themselves, which means that teachers need to move around instead.

When a teacher arrived to a classroom, 반장 (banjang) or “class president” would stand and say 차렷 (charyeot) meaning “attention” loudly so everyone can hear. Then the class president will either say 인사 (insa) meaning “greet” or 경례 (gyeongnye) meaning “salute.” Then everyone has to say 선생님 안녕하십니까 (seonsaengnim annyeonghasimnikka) meaning “hello teacher” before the class, and 선생님 안녕히 가십시오 (seonsaengnim annyeonghi gasipsio) “goodbye teacher” after the class.

However, this was banned recently because people believed that this was too conservative and it doesn’t help a teacher and the students establish a good relationship.

Vocabulary List
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

2- And there are Many More Rules

There are many more rules that South Korean students need to abide by:

  • You Cannot Alter the Length of a Skirt or the Width of a Pair of Pants

  • 치마길이 (chimagiri) or “the length of skirt” has to cover half the knee; if it’s shorter than this, you’ll get in trouble. However, this really depends on the school. These days, students can alter their school uniforms to suit their body shape.

  • You Must Wear what the School Tells You to

  • There are three ways to wear your school uniforms in South Korea. The default school uniforms are 동복 (dongbok) or “winter uniform” and 하복 (habok) “summer uniform.” In between, there’s 춘추복 (chunchubok) or “spring/autumn uniform.” Normally, each uniform has its set duration, so even though the weather becomes extremely hot, if you’re in the period of wearing 동복 (dongbok) or “winter uniform,” you have to wear the winter uniform.

  • The School will Decide which Hairstyle to do

  • Nowadays, students are allowed to do many different hairstyles. Girls can dye their hair, curl their hair, and untie their hair. Compare this to the old times when every girl had to have short hair, which must not grow longer than 3 cm (1.2 inches) below their ears.

    Boys can grow their hair longer than they could a few decades ago, when every boy had to shave their hair completely. This rule also depends on which school you go to; some conservative schools still follow the traditional way of hairstyle. 두발자유화 is something that Korean students are fighting for, as they believe that free hairstyle will allow them to express who they are, and this topic is still in debate.

    Some schools still follow the traditional ways of disciplining students and this can be problematic for some students. Although the majority of Koreans have naturally black hair, there are some exceptions; there are people with natural brunette and even light brown hair, almost blond. Others have naturally curly hair. Unfortunately, those students will have to abide by the rule by straightening their hair or dying it black, although they were born this way.

Vocabulary List
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

    치마길이 (chimagiri): “the length of skirt”
    (dongbok): “winter uniform”
    (habok): “summer uniform”
    춘추 (chunchubok): “spring/autumn uniform”
    두발자유화 (dubaljayuhwa): “liberalization of the hair code”

Bow

3. Nevertheless, We are Getting Better!

Things have changed a lot. Students don’t go to school on Saturdays anymore, and haven’t since 2000. 야자 (yaja) used to be mandatory for everyone in middle and high school, but now students can decide whether they want to attend it or not. Students’ hairstyles were limited too, and students with brunette hair had to dye it black just because it was the school rule. But this doesn’t apply to schools anymore. There used to be school corporal punishment, but it’s prohibited now. Many school rules have been changed and there will still be more rules to be changed in the future.

4. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

KoreanClass101 is here to help you learn not only the Korean language, but also Korean culture. Therefore, our study materials aren’t simply teaching you how to memorize Korean; we’re also focused on providing study materials for students to learn the language in a fun way, and most importantly, provide the most relevant cultural insights.

Also, KoreanClass101 has free study materials for you to study, whether you’re an absolute beginner or a more advanced learner. So why not make your lifetime account today and learn Korean with us?

Pepero Day: Fun Facts About Pepero Day in South Korea

Happy Pepero Day! By the way, what’s Pepero Day? For those who aren’t familiar with what Pepero Day is, it’s an unofficial day in South Korea that’s celebrated by exchanging boxes of Peperos.

Have you ever heard of Pepero? It’s a chocolate covered cookie stick that is long and slim. It looks similar to the letter “I” or the number 1. That’s why November 11th (11/11) is Pepero Day in South Korea. On this day, friends and couples give each other Pepero.

The Pepero is one of the most famous Korean snacks that you can buy at any supermarket or even online in South Korea. The price for one Pepero box ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 KRW. But be aware that this is a habit you can really get hooked on, as they release Pepero special editions from time to time, meaning you can’t miss out on new Peperos!

1. Origins: What is Pepero Day?

빼빼로데이 (ppaeppaerodei): Pepero Day

빼빼로 데이 (ppaeppaero dei) or “Pepero Day” originated back in the 1980s among school girls in Busan. The company that sells Pepero in South Korea—Lotte Confectionery—noticed that their sales increased significantly every November 11 in this area. Therefore, the company started investigating, and they learned that students from this region exchanged a box of Peperos as a wish to stay thin while teasing each other to 살 좀 빼자 (sal jom ppaeja), meaning, “Let’s lose some weight” in English.

The marketing team took this idea and started promoting Pepero day, and it became extremely well-known after 1996. However, no one really knows whether this is a true story or not, as there are many stories about the origin of Pepero Day.

Nevertheless, Pepero Day has become one of the most important days in South Korea, and it’s celebrated on November 11 every year. This is probably because Pepero is such a well-loved Korean snack (how could it not be?).

▶ Let’s Practice Korean about Pepero:
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

11월 11일은 ‘빼빼로데이입니다.
(sibirwolwol sibirileun ‘ppyaeppaerodei’ imnida.)
“11th of November is ‘Pepero Day’.”

이 날은 사람들이 빼빼로삽니다.
(i nareun saramdeuri ppaeppaeroreul saseo.)
“People buy Pepero on this day.”

빼빼로데이는 감사를 전하고 싶은 사람들에게 나눠주는 날입니다.
(gamsareul jeonhago sipeun saramdeurege nanwojuneun narimnida.)
Pepero day is a day to show your appreciation to the people.”

빼빼로 데이에 사람들은 빼빼로를 선물로 줍니다.
(ppaeppaero deie saramdeureun ppaeppaeroreul seonmullo jumnida.)
“On Pepero Day, people give Pepero as a present to the other people and eat it.”

빼빼로 데이에는 상점 밖에서 빼빼로를 파는 곳이 많이 있습니다.
(ppaeppaero deieneun sangjeom bakkeseo ppaeppaeroreul paneun gosi mani itsseumnida.)
“There are lot of places selling Pepero outside the shop on Pepero Day.”

2. Modern Pepero Day: What to do on Pepero Day

Pepero Day is supposed to be fun and is a great opportunity to show your appreciation to people you care about. It can be your friends, family, boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse, or even your colleagues and your boss. It’s literally just a day to share your appreciation with those around you, while having a good time in sharing a box of Pepero with those around you.

Pepero Day is practiced a few different ways, depending on age groups.

Children (elementary school) give and receive Pepero to their friends, teachers, and family members. Just as children do on Valentines Day, children give and receive Pepero just for the sake of exchanging sweets.

However, for those a little older (and for those with a bit more courage), Pepero Day is a day in which Pepero is given to girlfriends and boyfriends. It is also a day in which many people (typically teenagers) tend to confess their love to someone. The similarities between Pepero Day and Valentine’s Day are quite numerous. But the difference between the two is that instead of exchanging chocolates, people exchange Pepero. Also, Valentine’s Day is observed by people of all ages, whereas Pepero Day is mostly observed by younger people.

Because this is a highly commercialized day in Korea, many stores sell Pepero and other cheaper brands of the same type of cookie in bulk. There are large displays of Pepero and similar snacks at supermarkets on the days leading up to Pepero Day. Other venues try to cash in on this day as well. As an example: bakeries will sell long loaves of bread covered in chocolate (something that resembles a stick of Pepero). Other places will make elaborate packages filled with various types of Pepero, which can get quite expensive.

All you need to do is go to a supermarket in your area and buy boxes of Peperos. Then you can simply give it to a friend or write a short message to show your appreciation. Don’t have paper you can use? Don’t worry; there’s a small space (normally an image of a letter is printed on top of the box) for you to write a short message in.

Also, on this special day, you can’t miss out on Lotte’s special promotion. There will be a variety of Pepero flavors and packaging, which will be discussed in detail in the “Trend: Variety of Pepero Flavors in South Korea” section below. On this special day, don’t miss out on getting a variety of Pepero. It’s the only day that you’ll get to see so many different kinds of Pepero.

Keep in mind that you can purchase Pepero in-store from several supermarkets, or even buy Pepero online!

▶ Let’s Practice Korean about Pepero:
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

빼빼로는 친구, 가족, 남자친구 아니면 여자친구, 부부, 그리고 직장동료매니저에게도 줄 수 있습니다.
(ppaeppaeroneun chingu, gajok, namjachingu animyeon yeojachingu, bubu, geurigo jikjangdongnyowa maenijeoegedo jul su itseumnida.)
“You can give a Pepero to your friends, family, boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse, and even to your colleagues and your boss.”

빼빼로 상자 감사편지쓸 수 있습니다.
(ppaeppaero sangja wie gamsaui pyeonjireul sseul su itseumnida.)
“You can write a ‘Thank you’ letter on top of a Pepero box.”

사랑을 고백하고 싶으면 빼빼로를 주세요.
(sarangeul gobaekago sipeumyeon ppaeppaeroreul juseyo.)
“If you want to confess your love, give Pepero.”

빼빼로 데이에는 많은 사람들이 빼빼로를 주고 받습니다.
(ppaeppaero deieneun maneun saramdeuri ppaeppaeroreul jugo batsseumnida.)
“A lot of people exchange Pepero on Pepero Day.”

3. Trend: Different Flavors of Pepero in South Korea

Now, let’s have a look at different Peperos flavors—you’ll be amazed how many different kinds of Pepero flavors are available in South Korea. They usually come in two sizes: thin Pepero or big Pepero. If you’re not familiar with any of these Pepero flavors, click on the link to check out pictures of that Pepero.

Chocolate Pepero

1 - 초코 빼빼로 (choko ppaeppaero) — Original Chocolate Pepero

This is the classic Pepero which was introduced in the April of 1983 and this is the symbol of Pepero as we know it today.

2 - 아몬드 빼빼로 (amondeu ppaeppaero) — Almond Pepero

This was released on of March 26, 1984. People who love almond buy this. However, one downside about this Pepero is that there are only nine sticks inside the package (talk about a bummer!). Nevertheless, this Almond Pepero is loved by many almond and chocolate lovers.

3 - 코코넛 빼빼로 (kokoneot ppaeppaero) — Chocolate Coconut Pepero

Similar to the Almond Pepero, this Pepero is covered in coconut chips. It’s loved by many coconut lovers in South Korea.

4 - 땅콩 빼빼로 (ttangkong ppaeppaero) — Peanut Pepero

This is the Pepero that’s known for, of course, being covered in peanuts. Although this was released in 1996, Lotte does not produce Peanut Pepero anymore.

5 - 누드 빼빼로 (nudeu ppaeppaero) — Nude Pepero

The classical Pepero is a cookie stick dipped in chocolate—the Nude Pepero is the reverse version, where the chocolate is inside and the cookie outside.

6 - 더블딥 초코 화이트 빼빼로 (deobeuldip choko hwaiteu ppaeppaero) — Double Dip Choco White Pepero

This one’s a Pepero that’s dipped in a mix of Kakao cream and whipped cream; it was introduced in 2000. Fun fact: Unlike other rectangular Pepero boxes, this Pepero is in a square box.

7 - 다크 빼빼로 (dakeu ppaeppaero) — Dark Pepero

For dark chocolate lovers. The cookie stick on this Pepero flavor is even darker than it is on others.

8 - 바닐라 블랙 쿠키 빼빼로 (banilla beullaek kuki ppaeppaero) — Vanilla Black Cookie Pepero

This flavor is composed of Pepero sticks dipped in white chocolate and covered with cookie pieces.

9 - 스키니 빼빼로 (seukini ppaeppaero) — Skinny Pepero

This is a “skinny” version of the classic chocolate Pepero. This was introduced in 2013.

10 - 더블딥 딸기 빼빼로 (deobeuldip ttalgi ppaeppaero) — Double Dip Strawberry Pepero

The length of this Pepero is shorter and wider than the original Pepero, and it’s dipped in strawberry-flavored cream.

11 - 초코쿠키 빼빼로 (chokokuki ppaeppaero) — Choco Cookie Pepero

This was introduced in 2015. The Pepero stick is covered with cookie.

12 - 블루베리 요거트 빼빼로 (beulluberi yogeoteu ppaeppaero) — Blueberry Yogurt Pepero

This was introduced in 2015 as well. Unfortunately, beginning in 2017, Lotte doesn’t produce this flavor anymore.

13 - 누드 녹차 빼빼로 (nudeu nokcha ppaeppaero) — Nude Green Tea Pepero

Favored by women in general, this Nude Green Tea Pepero was introduced to the market in 2016.

14 - 더블딥 카페라떼 빼빼로 (deobeuldip kaperatte ppaeppaero) — Double Dip Cafe Latte Pepero

The length is shorter and wider than the original Pepero. It goes well with a cup of coffee.

15 - 더블딥 요거트 빼빼로 (deobeuldip yogeoteu ppaeppaero) — Double Dip Yogurt Pepero

The length is shorter and wider than the original Pepero. It tastes like you’re eating some sweet white yogurt with cookies.

16 - 스키니 카카오 빼빼로 (seukini kakao ppaeppaero) — Skinny Cacao Pepero

This is a “skinny” Pepero version of Skinny Cacao Pepero mentioned above.

17 - 누드 치즈 빼빼로 (nudeu chijeu ppaeppaero) — Nude Cheese Pepero

18 - 카카오닙스 빼빼로 (kakaonipseu ppaeppaero) — Cacao Nibs Pepero

Strawberry Pepero

19 - 딸기 빼빼로 (ttalgi ppaeppaero) — Strawberry Pepero

20 - 불고기 빼빼로 (bulgogi ppaeppaero) — Bulgogi Pepero

We’re sure you want to buy this one out of curiosity, but unfortunately South Korea stopped selling this flavor in 1997.

21 - 티라미스 치즈 빼빼로 (tiramiseu chijeu ppaeppaero) — Tiramisu Cheese Pepero

22 - 화이트 쿠키 빼빼로 (hwaiteu kuki ppaeppaero) — Pepero White Cookie

This flavor is basically a mixture of cookies and cream.

And the list goes on… It seems that Lotte introduces new Peperos flavors every year, so keep an eye out for them on November 11! But what’s the best Pepero flavor? Well, that’s for you to decide, so try as many as you’d like.

▶ Let’s Practice Korean about Pepero:
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

빼빼로데이에는 여러 종류빼빼로맛 볼 수 있습니다.
(ppaeppaero deieneun yeoreo jongnyuui ppaeppaeroreul mat bol su itseumnida.)
“You can taste different kinds of Peperos on Pepero day.”

상대좋아하는 빼빼로사서 선물해 보세요.
(sangdaega joahaneun ppaeppaeroreul saseo seonmulhaeboseyo.)
“Try to buy Pepero flavor that your partner likes and give it to him/her.”

빼빼로 데이에 가장 인기있는 빼빼로는 초콜릿 맛 빼빼로입니다.
(ppaeppaero deie gajang ingiinneun ppaeppaeroneun chokollit mat ppaeppaeroimnida.)
“The most popular Pepero on Pepero Day is the chocolate flavored Pepero.”

4. Pepero Day Ideas: Different Ways to Celebrate the Day

On Pepero Day, you don’t have to buy Pepero; you can create your own tradition or even make your own Pepero for the special people in your life. Let’s have a look at a few different ways that Koreans celebrate Pepero Day.

1- Are You in a Relationship? Make DIY Pepero

DIY (Do It Yourself) Pepero is very popular among women, especially those who are in a relationship. If you’re not much of a cook, it may seem time-consuming and challenging. But fortunately, you can easily purchase DIY Pepero kits online and get them delivered to your house; there are also many shops where you can purchase the tools and Pepero ingredients you need to make Pepero.

Be creative and make your own Pepero to impress your boyfriend and your father while showing them your appreciation. Here’s an article to give you an idea of how Koreans make Peperos. It even comes with a Pepero recipe inside.

If you’re not a fan of cooking on a special day, there are many gift packages that you can choose from as well, such as the Pepero big box (Peperos packed in an over-sized Pepero box).

▶ Let’s Practice Korean about DIY Pepero:
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

많은 여성 들이 빼빼로직접 만들어 선물합니다.
(maneun yeoseong bundeuri ppaeppaeroreul jikjeop mandeureo seonmulhamnida.)
“Many women make their own Pepero and give it out as gifts.”

빼빼로데이사랑을 고백하는 입니다.
(ppaeppaero deineun sarangeul gobaekaneun narimnida.)
“Pepero Day is the day that you confess your love.”

2- Not a Fan of Pepero? Pepero with Rolled Up Cash

Korean Money Pepero

Not everyone is a fan of Pepero. For example, if you know someone who’s very health-conscious, then it could be a challenge for you determining what to give as a gift to them on Pepero Day.

Recently, a new Pepero Day gift idea developed a few years ago, and has become extremely popular. Instead of Pepero, you roll up cash to resemble a stick, and put these rolls in a rectangular box. It’s called 돈 빼빼로 (donppaeppaero), literal translation being “Money Pepero.”

This may be an expensive gift, but the person who receives it will absolutely love it (we promise!). Popular cash Pepero receivers are parents or other family members. Do you want to know how to make it? Click here for a DIY blog post.

▶ Let’s Practice Korean about paper with rolled up cash:
※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

빼빼로 대신 주는 사람있습니다.
(ppaeppaero daesin doneul juneun saramdo itseumnida.)
“There are people who give money instead of Pepero.”

부모님좋아할 선물일 수도 있겠습니다.
(bumonimi joahal seonmuril sudo itgetseumnida.)
“It may be a great gift for the parents.”

3- Appreciate the Tradition? Let’s Celebrate “Garaetteok Day”

On November 11, we celebrate 가래떡 데이 (garaetteok dei), literal translation being “Korean Rice Cake Day.” Instead of Pepero, you pass out long cylindrical rice cakes to people. 가래떡 데이 (garaetteok dei) is 농업인의 날 (nongeobinui nal), literal translation being “Farmer’s Day” in South Korea. 가래떡 is made of steamed rice flour and it’s seen in many dishes, such as 떡꼬치 (Tteokkkochi) or “Spicy Fried Korean Rice Cake Sticks,” 떡국 (tteokguk) or “sliced rice cake soup,” 떡볶이 (Tteok-bokki) or “stir-fried rice cakes,” and so on. It’s a great way to appreciate the tradition and celebrate Farmer’s Day on November 11.

▶ Let’s Practice Korean about Garaetteok Day:

11월 11일은 농업인의 날입니다.
(sibirwolwol sibirileun nongeobinui narimnida.)
“It is ‘Farmer’s Day’ on November 11.”

이날은 가래떡을 사람들에게 나눠주는 날입니다.
(inareun garaetteogeul saramdeurege nanwojuneun narimnida.)
“On this day, people give out Korean rice cakes.”

4- Love Playing Games? Try Pepero Games

You can play a Pepero game with Pepero sticks in South Korea. Do you want to know how to play this? It’s very simple.

Think of the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp. The Pepero game is very similar to this. It’s called the “Pepero kiss game” where two people need to eat a Pepero together to make the shortest possible leftover in the middle. To win, you need to make sure to have the shortest Pepero stick possible, compare to other groups. Still not sure how to play this game? Watch this EXO Pepero kiss game.

Speaking of EXO, there used to be Pepero EXO Limited Edition in South Korea, and fans could collect the EXO Pepero box set along with a photocard of each member.

5. How to Say “Happy Pepero Day” in Korean

Here are a number of Pepero Day quotes in Korean. You can write these messages and give a box of Pepero to your acquaintances.

빼빼로데이 축하해요!
(ppaeppaerodei chukahaeyo!)
“Happy Pepero Day!”

맛있는 빼빼로 먹고 행복 가득한 하루보내세요.
(masinneun ppaeppaero meokgo haengbok gadeukan harubonaeseyo.)
“Please eat these delicious Pepero and have a day full of happiness.”

빼빼로 처럼 길~게 사랑하자!
(ppaeppaero cheoreom gil~ge saranghaja!)
“Let’s be together for a long time like these Pepero sticks.”

6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You

Pepero Day is one of the most popular days in South Korea, so we’re glad to introduce Pepero Day in detail in this blog post. We hope you found this article interesting, and if you want to learn essential vocabulary about Pepero, KoreanClass101 has the “Korean Vocabulary List - Pepero Day” available for free. We also have a number of Korean lessons based on Pepero Day, so feel free to check them out on our website as well.

Lastly, what’s your favorite Pepero flavor? Leave a comment below!

Korean Cosmetics Guide: Best Shopping Tips & Beauty Secrets

When you go shopping in Myeongdong, Dongdaemoon, or other areas, you will be overwhelmed by the many Korean cosmetic brands that offer unique products that you don’t often see in other countries. One of the benefits of purchasing Korean cosmetics in South Korea is that people are able to find many alternatives to high-demand cosmetics, products that function similarly but also cost a lot less, therefore you can easily stock up your makeup box!

This blog will include Korean makeup trends and famous Korean beauty YouTubers that will teach you some tips about Korean makeup styles, tips on how to know when the shops have sales, and useful Korean vocabulary and phrases that you can instantly use when you go shopping in Korea.

Cosmetics

1. Korean Cosmetic Brands and Trends in South Korea

Korean cosmetics were not popular a decade ago, however when BB cream was introduced worldwide, people started to be interested in Korean beauty products and they became popular. In 2018, the French cosmetic brand L`Oreal acquired one of the most popular Korean cosmetic brands called, 3CE (Stylenanda).

Korean cosmetics are loved by many because they offer unique colors that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. These pigments, preferred in Korea, are suitable for everyday looks. Also, if you have tried some Korean cosmetics before, you have noticed that Korean beauty products such as lipsticks and eyeshadows are a lot more subtle and less pigmented than cosmetics from Western countries.

Makeup

1- Korean Makeup Trends

There are many YouTube videos that compare makeup styles between Korea and America, or Korea and other countries. If you have watched them before, you probably know that Koreans prefer to have clean and flawless skin and go for natural looks.

  • Skin: In order to achieve a natural look, they apply foundation one or two tones lighter than their natural skin color.
  • Eyebrows: They prefer to have straight and thick eyebrows, in order to achieve a youthful look.
  • Eyeshadow: Very subtle and light pigmented eyeshadows are usually used.
  • Lips: Many Korean women wear vibrant red glossy lipstick and you will be amazed at how many different shades of red lipsticks there are in Korea! You can visit popular cosmetic stores such as Etude House, Missha, Skinfood and so on to have a look at different shades of red lipsticks!

That being said, not all Koreans wear the same makeup style; celebrities with tanned skin and vivid makeup appear more often than before (eg. Jessie, Nada, Hwasa, Hyorin and so on).

2- Popular Korean Beauty YouTubers

If you want to learn more about Korean makeup, there are many famous YouTubers who offer free makeup tutorials so you will be able to learn about Korean beauty brands, cosmetic products and many beauty techniques that Koreans use daily. Famous Korean Youtubers include:

3- Popular Korean Cosmetic Brands

Here are a number of Korean cosmetic brands:

4- Useful Korean Vocabulary for Cosmetics

  • BB 크림 (BB keurim) = “BB cream”
  • 파운데이션 (paundeisyeon) = “foundation”
  • 눈 화장 (nun hwajang) = “eyeshadow”
  • 워터 프루프 (Woteo peurupeu) = “waterproof”
  • 블러셔 (Beulleosyeo) = “blush”
  • 아이라이너 (airaineo) = “eyeliner”
  • 아이브로우 펜슬 (aibeurou penseul) = “eyebrow pencil”
  • 립스틱 (ripseutik) = “lipstick”
  • 아이섀도 (aisyaedo) = “eyeshadow”
  • 컨투어 (keontueo) = “contour”

Planning to go shopping in Myeongdong?
Click here to learn useful Korean phrases

Skin Products

2. How Koreans Use Their Skin Products

In Korea, applying skin lotion after washing isn’t enough. In fact, if you tell Koreans that you only apply lotion, they will be shocked. Usually a skin care routine starts from applying toners, eye cream, essences, serums or ampoules, then day or night cream. And it’s important to do facial masks at least 2-3 times a week in order to keep your skin flawless.

When you go shopping in Korea, you can easily get the products as a set and the staff will be more than happy to explain to you what they are for and the steps you need to follow.

1- The Secrets of Korean Skin Care

Here are some secrets of how Koreans keep their skin always beautiful:

  1. Try to use an ice-cube to massage your face when you watch TV, this is one of the popular beauty tricks that Koreans do.
  2. Rubbing ice cubes on your face helps you to achieve that beautiful radiant glow. If you have time in the morning, try to use an ice cube to reduce swelling.
  3. A cream 황토마스크 (hwangtomaseukeu) “red clay mask” is a very popular facial mask in Korea. Unfortunately, this is difficult to find in stores, so you might need some help from local friends to find decent 황토마스크.

2- Popular Ingredients for Skin Care Products

Other popular ingredients for skin care products in Korea are:

  • 피그 콜라겐 (pigeu kollagen) = “pig collagen”
  • 치즈 크림 (chijeukeurim) = “cheese cream”
  • 연어 크림 (yeoneokeurim) = “salmon cream”
  • 달팽이 크림 (dalpaengikeurim) = “snail cream”
  • 홍삼 화장품 (hongsam hwajangpum) = “red ginseng cosmetic”
  • 젤리 크림 (jelli keurim) = “jelly cream”

There are products that even use gold. Each product with unique active ingredients in Korean beauty products has a different smell and texture, so have fun trying them and don’t be scared to give it a try!

3- Useful Korean Vocabulary for Skin Care Products

  • 마스크팩 (maseukeupaek) = “facial mask”
  • 스킨 (seukin) = “skin product”
  • 로션 (rosyeon) = “lotion”
  • 아이크림 (aikeurim) = eye cream
  • 립밤 (ripbam) = “lip balm”
  • 나이트 크림 (naiteu keurim) = “night cream”
  • 데이크림 (deikeurim) = “day cream”
  • 선크림 (seonkeurim) = “sunscreen”

Want to master Korean pronunciation? Learn the sounds that don’t exist in English!
Click here to access the ‘Ultimate Korean Pronunciation Guide”!

Korean Beauty Products

3. How to Purchase Korean Beauty Products for Cheap

As mentioned above, if you cannot afford to buy high-end cosmetics, why not replace them with Korean cosmetic products? There are so many decent Korean beauty products that provide the similar effects and cost less than half the price of expensive beauty products. There are many ways that you can purchase Korean cosmetics at a cheap price and here are some tips to remember:

1- Check Brand Websites for Upcoming Events

Do you want to buy a cosmetic? Before purchasing it right away, try to visit the website of the brand to see if you can get more discounts or receive freebies. The website often provides upcoming sale events such as 1+1 event, 50% discount coupon, freebies and so on. Also, often Korean cosmetic brands release limited edition items that you can only purchase online. So check out their websites occasionally!

2- Request Free Samples

When you buy a number of beauty products in Korea, you will also receive many free samples to try at home. If you are at a Korean cosmetic store and want to try some products before purchasing them, simply request free samples from the staff. If you do not request them specifically, they will give you samples randomly. So if there are any particular products that you want, request them! Most of the time you will be able to get many different samples for different products. The good news is, they will give you more than enough for you to use them for a few weeks! You will be surprised how many free things you receive after purchasing cosmetics or skin products in Korea. Most likely you will receive a cosmetic pouch or shopping bag depending on the promotion that the company is doing.

3- Register for a Membership Card (Only Korean Residents Can Do This)

This may not apply to tourists, but if you are currently living in Korea, try to sign up for a membership at your favorite Korean cosmetic stores. You can sign up as you purchase the products at the counter and most of the time, you will receive instant 5 to 10% discounts. You’ll also get points which can be used just like money.

Depending on the store, the registration process differs, as some stores may require you to give personal information such as your address and birthday, but most of the time the process is very easy, as you just need to give them your mobile number.

4- Useful Korean Vocabularies and Phrases

  • 세일 기간 (seil gigan) = “sale period”
  • 할인 상품 (Harin sangpum) = “discount products”
  • 교환/반품불가(Gyohwan/banpumbulga) = “exchange/refund not allowed”
  • 샘플 많이 주세요. (Saempeul mani juseyo) = “Please give me many samples.”
  • 세일 중인 상품은 어디에 있나요? (Seil jungin sangpumeun eodie innayo?) = “Where are the products that are on sale?”
  • ~ 있어요? ( ~ isseoyo?) = “Do you have ~?”
  • ~ 주세요. (~ juseyo) = “Please give me ~.”
  • ~을(를) 찾고 있어요. (~eul(reul) chatgo isseoyo) = “I am looking for ~.”
  • 이것은 어떻게 사용하나요? (Igeoseun eotteoke sayonghanayo?) = “How do I use this?”
  • 어디에 바르는 화장품인가요? ( Eodie bareuneun hwajangpumingayo?) = “Where do I apply this cosmetic?”
  • 텍스프리 가맹점 (Tekseupeuri gamaengjeom) = “tax free affiliated store”
  • 택스 리펀드 (taekseu ripeondeu) = “tax refund”

Do you want to learn more Korean vocabulary for shopping?
Click here to check out our free vocabulary lists!

Make Up Products

4. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn more Korean

To sum up, we had a look at popular makeup trends, interesting facts about skin care products in Korea, and we also introduced tips on how to purchase your favorite Korean beauty products for a cheap price. Now, you are ready to go shopping in Korea!

But if you want to buy things in Korea, it’s important to learn some basic Korean phrases. Check out Common Ways to Say Hello and Top 10 Travel Spots in South Korea from KoreanClass101, for free!

If you want to learn even more Korean, sign up for KoreanClass101 today to access free study materials! If you are serious about learning Korean, you can sign up for Premium PLUS which allows you to study personalised lessons anytime, anywhere at your convenience. Why not give it a try today?

Good luck with studying Korean and I hope you have a great day!

Korean Etiquette: 7 Do’s and Don’ts in Korea

Korea has its own customs, traditions, and rules for manners, just like your own country does. Some of these customs are completely fine in your country, but are considered offensive in Korea. These fascinating differences are necessary to learn before your visit to Korea.

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Table of Contents

  1. Korean Dining Etiquettes
  2. Basic Korean Drinking Etiquette
  3. Asking Someone’s Age in Korea
  4. Place Setting Rules for Dining in Korea
  5. Don’t Write Names in Red in Korea
  6. Never Sit in Priority Seats in Korea
  7. Take Your Shoes Off at Home in Korea
  8. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn More Korean

Today, KoreanClass101 is going to explain to you seven important Korean etiquettes in detail so that you can avoid making these mistakes while in Korea! Also, keep in mind that Koreans are not afraid of calling you out on behavior they find offensive, which is where our vocabulary learning will come in handy.

Table Manner

Do’s and Don’ts in Korea #1 : Korean Dining Etiquettes

1- Do: Wait Until Elders Start Eating Their Food

In Korea, you cannot start eating until the elders grab the chopsticks and start eating their own meal. The order of eating has to be according to age. For example, if you are sitting with your grandfather, parents, parents’ friends, and your younger sister at a dining table, the order should be :

Korean Vocabulary List

  1. 할아버지 (harabeoji) - “grandfather”
  2. 부모님 (bumonim) - “your parents”
  3. 부모님의 친구 (bumonimui chingu) - “parents’ friends”
  4. 나 자신 (Na chashin) - “myself”
  5. 여동생 (yeodongsaeng) - “younger sister”

2- Do: Chew with Your Mouth Closed and Try to Hide the Bones

Try not to make noise when you chew your food in South Korea. It is considered rude if you do make any noise when chewing, so try to chew with your mouth closed.

Also keep in mind that Koreans eat grilled fish, marinated chicken, and so on. It is advised that if you have bones, you hide them by wrapping them in some tissue or placing them under the rice bowl.

Korean Vocabulary List

  1. 생선 가시 (saengseon gasi) - “fish bone”
  2. 생선 가시를 발라내다 (saengseon gasireul ballanaeda) - “debone a fish”
  3. 우리 밥 먹을 때 조용히 먹자. (uri bam meogeul ttae joyonghi meokja.) - “Let’s just eat quietly.”

3- Do Not: Leave the Table Until You Are Done with the Meal

If you need to go to the 화장실 (hwajangsil) “bathroom”, try to go before sitting at the dining table; it is considered rude to leave the table while eating. However, if you really need to leave the table for some urgent reason, the best way is to politely explain the situation to the eldest person.

Also note that it’s considered rude to place your elbow on the table as well, especially if you are dining with the elders or someone who is older than you.

4- Are You the Youngest Person in a Group? Rules to Remember

Here are a couple of important rules in the Korean table manner that you need to remember if you are the youngest person in a group:

When you go to a restaurant or prepare the dinner at home with your Korean homestay family, you are expected to prepare 수저 (sujeo) “spoon and a pair of chopsticks”, as well as other amenities such as water.

Also, you may need to grill the meats for elders or those of higher status when you go to a restaurant with other colleagues. However, this is not mandatory as the task of grilling the meats for everyone depends on who sits closest to the barbecue grill.

Have you started studying Korean lately and want to improve your listening skills?
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Soju

Do’s and Don’ts in Korea #2: Basic Drinking Etiquette

1- Do: Make Sure Everyone’s Glass is Full

If you are the youngest, check to see if others’ glasses are empty, as it is rude to allow anyone to have an empty glass. Fill up the person’s glass first who is older or of higher status than you, by politely saying 한 잔 더 받으세요 (han jan deo badeuseyo) “Let me refill your glass.”

There are a couple of South Korean basic drinking etiquettes that will prove helpful when you go drinking with colleagues, friends, or elders in the future. Firstly, you need to hold the bottle and shot glasses with two hands when someone pours 막걸리 (makgeolli) “rice wine” or 소주 (soju) “Korean distilled liquor” for you. Also, it is polite to turn away from elders while you drink.

2- Do Not: Pour Your Own Drink

In Korea, it is considered rude to pour your own shot. Therefore, wait until someone offers to pour for you; this will usually be done by the youngest person. Sometimes, however, older or higher-status people may offer to pour for you. This usually means that the person wants to establish a great relationship with you, especially if the person is your boss or someone whom you cannot usually interact with in daily life. So, if he or she offers to pour you an alcoholic drink, accept it. If you refuse firmly, it may greatly harm the atmosphere. If you do not want to drink alcohol, just leave the glass as it is and order a different drink, or politely say 죄송하지만, 저는 술을 한 방울도 못 마십니다 (Joesonghajiman, jeoneun sureul han banguldo mon masimnida), “I am sorry, but I don’t drink even a drop.”

Do you want to learn Korean alphabet? Click here to learn Hangul: Hana Hana Hangul

Asking Someone's Age

Do’s and Don’ts in Korea #3: Asking Someone’s Age

1- It is Very Normal to Ask Someone’s Age

It’s absolutely normal to ask someone’s age in South Korea, so don’t get offended if you’re asked. Seeing as it is rude to ask someone’s age in most Western countries, this is a great example of etiquette differences between countries.

Koreans ask your age in order to determine what kind of language they need to use when talking with you. For example, if you meet someone in class for the first time, you would ask 몇 년생이세요? (myeot nyeonsaengiseyo) “What year were you born?” or 나이가 어떻게 되세요? (nai-ga eotteoke doeseyo) “How old are you?”. Then, if he or she is older than you, you need to start using formal language and show respect to him or her.

On the other hand, if a person is younger than you, you can speak casually with them, whereas he or she must speak to you in formal language.

Did you know that international and Korean age are different?

Do you know how to say “Where are you from?” in Korean? Learn key Korean phrases on KoreanClass101 for free

Korean Food Setting

Do’s and Don’ts in Korea #4: Place Setting Rules for Dining

Did you know that there is a number of place setting rules for dining in Korea? For example, a spoon and a set of chopsticks should be placed next to the rice bowl, on the right-hand side. Also, a spoon stays to the left while chopsticks stay to the right.

Stew (such as Kimchi stew) is usually placed in the middle so that everyone can share the soup together, surrounded by many different kinds of side dishes such as: 김치 (Kimchi - a Korean dish of spicy pickled cabbage) and 야채 (yachae - vegetables).

Typically, 고기반찬 (gogibanchan) “meat side dishes” stay on the right-hand side and 야채반찬 (yachaebanchan) “vegetable side dishes” stay on the left-hand side of the dining table.

In summary:

  • Right-hand side: Warm and hot dishes, watery food, meat dishes, and so on
  • Left-hand side: Cold dishes and dry foods, vegetable dishes, and so on

Red Pen

Do’s and Don’ts in Korea #5: Don’t Write Names in Red!

Did you know that it is considered extremely offensive to write someone’s name in red ink? Writing a person’s name in red ink means that he or she is deceased, and if he or she is still alive, it means that the person who wrote your name wishes that you were dead. 빨간 잉크 (ppalgan ingkeu) “red ink” was used in the past to write a deceased person’s name. So it should go without saying that you shouldn’t write your friend’s name down in red ink!

Learn these top 10 phrases in Korean and amaze your Korean friends

Priority Seat

Do’s and Don’ts in Korea #6: Never Sit in Priority Seats

When riding on buses or subways, you should avoid sitting in the priority seats; they are for the handicapped, the elderly, and pregnant women. You can easily identify them because there is a label that says 노약자석 (noyakjaseok) “For the handicapped, the elderly, and pregnant women” above the seating area, depicting the profiles of the three groups. It is important not to take these seats even if they are empty.

This is what you are going to see at priority seats: 장애인, 노약자, 임산부, 영유아 동반자 좌석입니다 (jangaein, noyakja, imsanbu, yeongyua dongbanja jwaseogipnida) “Seats for the handicapped, weak, pregnant women or accompanied with baby.” Also, you will frequently hear announcements such as 노약자석에 앉지 마세요 (noyakjaseoge anjji maseyo) “Please don’t sit on priority seats” to let everyone know that these seats need to remain available at all times.

Take Your Shoes Off

Do’s and Don’ts in Korea #7: Take Your Shoes Off at Home

In Korea, you will always find a 신발장 (sinbaljang) “shoes shelf,” or an area where Koreans keep their shoes. For example, if you are at a 레스토랑 (reseutorang) “restaurant” where you sit on the floor at a low table, you will need to take off your shoes beforehand. Also, when you enter someone’s house, you must take off your shoes and leave them at the entrance.

Hangul

How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn More Korean

In summary, we introduced seven important Korean etiquettes and relevant Korean vocabularies for you to remember! KoreanClass101 has many study materials that you can download for free. Also, have you come across any Korean words that you don’t know? Look them up on KoreanClass101 dictionary with free audio for you to practice pronunciation! We are here to help you improve your Korean, so feel free to use our website anytime. You can learn more Korean etiquettes, along with polite ways to speak Korean, on KoreanClass101. Check out our Culture Classes and Business Korean Series!

Thank you and have a great day!

Life in Seoul: What is the Cost of Living in South Korea?

Due to Korean Dramas and Kpop influences, the number of foreigners traveling to Korea or living in Korea has doubled in the last decade. This means that more and more foreigners come to Korea to learn its culture, language, customs and so on. Traveling to Korea certainly helps you understand Korea and also helps you expand your perspective.

However, it’s important to understand the difference between traveling and moving abroad. Travelers’ main concerns may be where to stay throughout the trip, or where to shop or to eat in Seoul. But for foreigners who want to live in Korea, one of the main concerns may be the cost of living in Korea. I am sure that you are reading this blog because you have been considering moving to Korea and you want to gather as much information as you can.

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Table of Contents

  1. Cost of Renting an Apartment or a House in Korea
  2. Cost of Food in Korea
  3. Cost of Entertainment in Korea
  4. Cost of Transportation in Korea
  5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn more Korean

Don’t worry, KoreanClass101 will look into the living costs, such as renting an apartment, purchasing food, enjoying entertainment etc, in Korea, focusing on Seoul. Also, KoreanClass101 will share some tips on how you can save some money while living in Korea, like locals do, so that you can apply these tips once you start living in Seoul, Korea. We will share some useful Korean phrases and words for you to learn from this article so please keep reading!

Apartment

1. Cost of Renting an Apartment or a House in Korea

If you are going to be an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Korea, you do not need to worry about accommodations, as the company will cover all the expenses including the utility fees. However if you need to find your own place to stay, there are some important things that you need to understand about renting an apartment in Korea.

Firstly, depending on where you want to live, your rent will be different. For example, if you want to live in Gangnam, Hongdae or any other main district in Seoul, the rent is going to be extremely expensive in comparison to other areas far from the main districts.

Secondly, Koreans usually search for an apartment to rent through a real estate agent. Koreans believe that it is the safest way to find an apartment and usually the real estate agent will take care of all the work including negotiating with the landlord and reading through the contract for you. If you want to lower the apartment rent, you may want to increase the default deposit. Usually, if you increase the deposit by 10,000,000 KRW, you may be able to lower the rent by 50,000 KRW. Also, sometimes you will notice that the water utility fee is included in the rent. This is certainly negotiable as well. The real estate agent will negotiate this with the landlord on your behalf, and there is no guarantee as it’s really up to the landlord to decide. Also, if you find a house then you will need to pay approximately 10% of your rent to the real estate agent. Koreans also use a number of apps or websites to save on the agency fee, which are 다방 (dabangapp), 직방 (Zigbang), 피터팬의 좋은방 구하기 (peterpanz) and so on.

List of Korean words for renting an apartment in South Korea:

  1. 월세 (wolse) - “monthly rent”
  2. 관리비 (gwanribi) - “maintenance fee”
  3. 수도요금 (sudoyogeum) - “water bill”
  4. 전기요금 (jeongiyogeum) - “electricity bill”
  5. 계약서 (gyeyakseo) - “contract”

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Food in Korea

2. Cost of Food in Korea

It is relatively cheap to eat out or do grocery shopping in South Korea. For example, a carton of milk costs around 2,500 KRW and the price of snacks and sweets usually start from 1,000 KRW. Also, the majority of supermarkets offer special discounts such as 1+1 events or coupon events. So look out for these signs when you go to a supermarket. In addition, a good thing about doing grocery shopping at supermarkets such as major wholesale stores like emart, Home plus and some local supermarkets, is that some supermarkets offer free delivery if you purchase over a certain amount.

Regarding eating out in South Korea, dishes usually cost from 7,000 KRW if you go to an inexpensive restaurant. Just to give you some hints about the cost of food in Korea, a McDonalds meal usually costs from 6,000 KRW and beers cost from 3,000 KRW. Waiters and waitresses often can speak English if you go to the city area, but if you are living outside the main districts, you will need to order food in Korean. If you learn a few phrases and order food at a restaurant, using honorific Korean, Koreans will appreciate you for trying to speak Korean.

List of Korean words for food:

  1. 닭 가슴살 (dalg gaseumsal) - “chicken breast”
  2. 사과 (sagwa) - “apple”
  3. 바나나 (banana) - “banana”
  4. 감자 (gamja) - “potato”
  5. 소주 (sojoo) - a Korean alcoholic drink typically made from rice or sweet potatoes.

Click here to learn more Korean essential vocabulary for fruits and vegetables!

Entertainment

3. Cost of Entertainment in Korea

The cost of entertainment in South Korea really depends on what you want to do as a hobby or for pleasure. For now, let’s focus on movies. If you purchase movie tickets at the counter, the tickets cost usually around 12,000 KRW, without any snacks or drinks. The price of the ticket becomes more expensive based on the type of movie. For a 3D or IMAX film, expect to pay a lot more.

But don’t worry, there are many ways to enjoy the entertainment without spending a fortune. Here are some tips on what locals do to receive some discounts on their movie tickets.

1) Try to purchase a movie ticket online as tickets are usually around 7,500 KRW online. Also, try to sign up to receive more discounts, ranging from 10% to 30%.
2) If you are an active SNS user, many South Korean companies offer free movie tickets or drinks if you share their contents on your SNS pages.
3) Look out for special discounts offered by different cinemas, such as 조조할인 (jojohal-in), 심야할인(sim-ya-hal-in), 무비데이 (mubidei) and so on.

List of Korean words for entertainment:

  1. 영화 (yeonghwa) - “movie”
  2. 티켓 (tikes) - “ticket(s)”
  3. 조조할인 (jojohal-in) - discount tickets offered to customers who come to the cinema early in the morning
  4. 무비데이 (mubidei) - Every Wednesday is called “movie day,” and you will receive some discount on the movie tickets.
  5. 심야할인 (sim-ya-hal-in) - discount tickets offered to customers who come to the cinema late at night

Do you want to challenge yourself by memorizing 100 essential Korean words?
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Transportation

4. Cost of Transportation

Transportation in South Korea is extremely convenient and cheap. You will need to purchase a T-Money card, which is a prepaid rechargeable touch-and-go transportation card. You can purchase this card at the ticket machine inside the subway. If you can apply for a credit card in Korea, you can also apply for a card that offers discounts for people who use transportation often. You can consult your bank if you are interested. When you scan your transportation card at a subway station, usually it costs 1,250 KRW for an adult and 720 KRW for a child (with the transportation card). For buses in South Korea, the price differs, from 1,200 KRW to 2,500 KRW, depending on the company and time of the day. Regarding the cost of taxis in Seoul, 일반 (Ilban - “regular taxis”) start from 3,000 KRW and 모범 (mobeom - “deluxe taxis,” black with a yellow top )cost from 5,000 KRW. If you catch a taxi late at night, there will be a late night surcharge.

List of Korean words for transportation:

  1. 대중교통 (daejung-gyotong) - “public transport”
  2. 버스 (beoseu) - “bus(es)”
  3. 지하철 (jihacheol) - “subway(s)”
  4. 택시 (taegsi) - “taxi(s)”

What should we watch in Korea? Learn how to express your intentions!

5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn more Korean

In summary, we looked at different areas’ of cost of living in South Korea, focusing only on Seoul. The price range may vary depending on which area you go to, therefore it’s important to compare the prices and do a little bit of research in order to save some money while you are in Korea.

Regardless of how cheap or expensive it is to live in South Korea, it’s important to study the language before. If you understand Korean language, it will be a lot easier for you to navigate around in South Korea.

If you have more questions about Korea (apart from cost of living in Korea) why not visit our KoreanClass101 forum? You can get a lot of advice from Koreans or foreigners living in Korea. Also KoreanClass101 has many Korean resources where you can access many study materials for free, so sign up for KoreanClass101 today to receive a free trial!

Good luck :)

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Blood Type Personality in Korea: What It Says about You

If you have ever visited Korea or stayed in Korea for quite some time, you have probably noticed that a lot of Korean people ask “what is your blood type?”. This question is one of the most common questions that Korean people ask, apart from “How old are you?”. In Korea, it is perfectly fine to ask about a person’s blood type, especially if you want to get to know someone very well instantly, in particular, on a blind date. The reason is that Korean people believe that each blood type has its own distinct personality and it is the quickest way to determine a person’s temperament and even compatibility with others. You may feel confused as to why people ask about blood types in Korea, but don’t worry. If you are asked this by a Korean, that means that the person wants to get to know you better.

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So who developed this concept? The blood type personality theory was developed by a Japanese person named Masahiko Nomi who graduated from the University of Tokyo. He began his first career as a journalist and his first book “Understanding Affinity by Blood Type” became a bestseller in the 1970s. The idea then spread outward and it is popular in some Asian countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan. You are probably wondering, ‘so what’s this all about?’, so let’s have a look at the description of each blood type to see if it matches with your personality. Then let’s look at the compatibility of blood types, followed by the blood types of famous Korean celebrities.

Blood Type A

1. Blood Type A

According to the Korean blood type personality chart, it is said that people with blood type A are known to be diplomatic and friendly, however due to their sensitive natures, they prefer staying alone to being in a group; therefore they may feel uncomfortable in crowded areas or parties. Also, they are fragile-hearted and easily get hurt, therefore it takes time for them to open up to people. Others may take this negatively and view them as snobs, since people with blood type A are good at hiding their feelings and do not express themselves a lot compared to other blood types such as blood type B or O. If you want to be friends with a person with Blood Type A, the best way is to be patient and get to know them slowly. Once you get to know them you will find that they are very friendly and down to earth! Also, they are punctual and always expect the best results in everything they do, therefore others seem them as perfectionists. When people describe blood type A, you will often hear:

A형은 성실하고 예민한 것 같아요.
e-i-hyeong-eun seong-sil-ha-go ye-min-han geot ga-ta-yo
“People with type A blood are earnest and sensitive.”

Blood Type A Personality in Korean

  • 성실하다 (seong-sil-ha-da) = “to be earnest”
  • 신중하다 (sin-jung-ha-da) = “to be cautious”
  • 고집이 세다 (go-ji-bi se-da) = “to be stubborn”
  • 예민하다 (ye-min-ha-da) = “to be sensitive”

Blood Type Compatibility for A

  • The best blood type compatibility is O, followed by A.
  • The worst blood type compatibility is B.

Famous Celebrities with Blood Type A

  • 장나라 (Jang Na-ra)
  • 이효리 (Lee Hyori)
  • 최지우 (Choi Ji-woo)
  • 닉쿤 (Nichkhun)
  • 배용준 (Bae Yong-joon)

Are you an absolute beginner in Korean? Click here to master basic Koreans.

Blood Type B

2. Blood Type B

According to the Korean blood type personality chart, it is said that B types are the most outgoing compared to other blood types. Also they are independent and are passionate about the things that they are interested in. Type Bs always seek stimulation and they are not afraid of speaking their minds. Therefore, they can be seen as self-centered because they express their opinion, regardless of what the other person might feel.

In Korea, men with blood type B have a negative reputation for being playboys and for not suitable for a stable relationship. The interesting fact is that there was even a song called “Blood Type B Man” by Kim Hyun Jung, and this song became extremely popular when it was released.But don’t worry, although blood type B has a negative reputation for being the blood type of playboys, there are many positive traits too. They are curious, honest and enjoy attention, therefore people with blood type B can make friends easily, like a social butterfly! When people describe blood type B, you will often hear:

B형은 창의적이고 낙관적인 것 같아요.
B-hyeong-eun-chang-ui-jeo-gi-go-nak-gwan-jeo-in geot ga-ta-yo
“People with blood type B are creative and optimistic.”

Blood Type B Personality in Korean

  • 창의적이다 (chang-ui-jeo-gi-da) = “to be creative”
  • 낙관적이다 (nak-gwan-jeo-gi-da) = “to be optimistic”
  • 이기적이다 (i-gi-jeo-gi-da) = “to be selfish”
  • 무책임하다 (mu-chae-gim-ha-da) = “to be irresponsible”

Blood Type Compatibility for B

  • The best blood type compatibility is AB, followed by O.
  • The worst blood type compatibility is A.

Famous Celebrities with Blood Type B

  • 이동욱 (Lee Dong Wook)
  • 이승기 (Lee Seung Gi)
  • 탑 (T.O.P)
  • 제시카 (Jessica Jung)

Blood Type O

3. Blood Type O

They are known to be energetic, practical and friendly. Also blood type O is labeled as a natural leader. They are experts at expressing their opinions in a constructive way, making sure that everyone listens to them, while still being friendly to everyone. They know how to control their emotions very well, giving others a great impression of being stable and under control. Research in Korea indicates that blood type O is the most prefered blood type by CEOs and coworkers because of the traits mentioned above. However, although they might have a reputation of being strong outside, they are very sensitive inside. People with blood type O have some difficulties expressing their feelings due to a fear of rejection and also they tend to burn themselves out trying to get things done perfectly. The best way to describe type Os in Korean is:

O형은 외향적이고 타고난 리더예요.
O-hyeong-eun-chang-ui-jeo-gi-go-ta-go-nan ri-deo-ye-yo
“People with type O are outgoing and natural leaders.”

Blood Type O Personality in Korean

  • 외향적이다 (chang-ui-jeo-gi-da) = “to be outgoing”
  • 타고난 리더이다 (ta-go-nan ri-deo-i-da) = “to be a natural leader”
  • 거만하다 (geo-man-ha-da) = “to be arrogant”
  • 질투심이 많다 (jul-tu-si-mi man-ta) = “to be jealous”

Blood Type Compatibility for O

  • The best blood type compatibility is A, followed by B.
  • The worst blood type compatibility is AB.

Famous celebrities with Blood Type O

  • 원빈 (Won Bin)
  • 박효신 (Park Hyo Shin)
  • 장동건 (Jang Dong-gun)
  • 이민정 (Lee Min-jung)
  • 김유정 (Kim Yoo-jung)

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Blood Type AB

4. Blood Type AB

They are the most interesting type compared to the others because this blood type is labeled as either genius or psycho. They are unpredictable because they often jump around from one activity to the next and their temperament is mixture of blood type A and B, therefore their personalities change quickly depending on their mood and the situation, and sometimes they don’t have control over it. Also type ABs are rational thinkers, therefore they cannot stand it when they find some situations to be irrational. As a result, they may have some difficulties interacting with people, giving others the wrong impression of being moody or two-faced. One of the ways to describe blood type ABs is:

AB형은 합리적이고 재능이 있어요.
AB-hyeong-eun-ham-ni-jeo-gi-go jae-neung-i it-eo-yo
“People with type AB are rational and talented.”

Blood Type AB Personality in Korean

  • 합리적이다 (ham-ni-jeo-gi-da) = “to be rational”
  • 재능이 있다 (jae-neung-i i-tta) = “to be talented”
  • 비판적이다 (bi-pan-jeo-gi-da) = “to be critical”
  • 별나다 (byeol-na-da) = “to be eccentric”

Blood Type Compatibility for AB

  • The best blood type compatibility is AB, followed by B.
  • The worst blood type compatibility is O.

Famous Celebrities with Blood Type AB

  • 박진영 (Park Jin-young)
  • 한가인 (Han Ga-in)
  • 택연 (Ok Taecyeon)
  • 김수현 (Kim Soo-hyun)
  • 박봄 (Park Bom)

Now, let’s have a look at few useful Korean sentences which you can use right away.

Talking about Blood Type

5. Talking about Your Blood Type in Korean

“What’s your blood type?”

  • Informal: 혈액형이 뭐야? (hyeo-raek-hyeong-i mwo-ya?)
  • Polite: 혈액형이 뭐예요? (hyeo-raek-hyeong-i mwo-ye-ya?)
  • Formal: 혈액형이 어떻게 되세요? (hyeo-raek-hyeong-i eo-tteo-ke doe-se-yo?)

“My blood type is…”:

  • ___형이야. (___hyeong-i-ya)
  • ___형이에요. (___hyeong-i-e-yo)
  • ___형입니다. (___hyeong-im-ni-da)

Example:

A: 방탄소년단 RM의 혈액형은 뭐예요?
Bang-tan-so-nyeon-dan RM-ui hyeo-raek-hyeong-i mwo-ye-yo?
A: “What’s the blood type of RM from BTS?”

B: RM의 혈액형은 O형이에요.
RM-ui hyeo-raek-hyeong-eun O-hyeong-i-e-yo
B: “RM’s blood type is O.”

Seoul

6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn more Korean

You’ve learned some secret Korean blood type personalities with useful Korean phrases to describe your blood type personality.

To sum up, we had a look at each blood type and its personality and temperament, and blood type compatibility for each type. Do you think that they are true? Also, do you know how to describe your personality in Korean? KoreanClass101 has prepared a list of useful Korean adjectives to describe your personality for you to study. It is available online, so feel free to download it for free. Also, are you a big fan of Kpop and do you want to know what your favourite celebrities’ blood types are? Download your ultimate K-pop guide to learn Korean and get interesting facts about your favourite celebrities. It is absolutely free!

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So next time you run into a Korean person and want to understand their personality quickly, why not ask a simple question, like:

혈액형이 뭐예요?
hyeo-raek-hyeong-i mwo-ye-yo?
“What is your blood type?”

KoreanClass101 has many vocabulary lists available on our website for you to download for free. Why don’t you prepare a self-introduction, including your blood type and your personality in Korean? Click “10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself” to learn practical phrases in Korean.

Thank you and we hope that you enjoy learning Korean!

How to Celebrate April Fools’ Day in Korean

How to Celebrate April Fools' Day in Korean!

Most everyone is familiar with this day, as it is celebrated nearly everywhere the world. Yet, when exactly is April Fools’ Day? And where did April Fools come from? April Fools’ Day is observed on April 1st every year. This day of jokes and pranks is believed to have stemmed from the 16th-century calendar change in France, when New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. This action was taken due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

However, a few people were resistant to the calendar change, so they continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1st, rather than the new date. They were referred to as the “April Fools”, and others started playing mocking tricks on them. This custom endured, and is practiced to this day around the world!

Table of Contents

  1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day
  2. Korean Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day
  3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody
  4. How Can KoreanClass101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?
  5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Korean - Testing New Technology

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1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day

Do you want to know how to say April Fools’ Day in Korean? Well, there are millions of ways and words, but here are the top one million Korean words you really need to know! Simply click this link. Here are some of them you will find useful:

  1. funny - 웃기는 - uggineun
  2. joke - 농담하다 - nongdamhada
  3. lie - 거짓말 - gyeojinmal
  4. surprise - 놀라다 - nollada
  5. sneaky - 몰래 - mollae
  6. prankster - 장난꾸러기 - jangnankkureogi
  7. prank - 장난 - jangnan
  8. play a joke - 장난을 치다 - jangnaneul chida
  9. humor - 유머 - yumeo
  10. fool - 바보 - babo
  11. deceptive - 속이는 - sogineun
  12. April 1st - 4월 1일 - sawol iril

2. Korean Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day

Korean Phrases for April Fools' Day

Don’t limit yourself to practical jokes - use these April Fools’ phrases in Korean to prank your favorite Korean friend or colleague!

  1. I learned Korean in 1 month.
    • 나는 1 달 만에 한국어를 배웠어.
    • Naneun han dal mane hangugeoreul baewoseo.
  2. All classes for today got canceled.
    • 오늘 모든 수업이 취소됐어.
    • Oneul modeun sueobi chwisodwaeseo.
  3. I’m sorry, but I’ve just broken your favorite pair of glasses.
    • 미안한데 나 방금 네가 가장 좋아하는 안경을 부러뜨렸어.
    • Mianhande na banggeum nega gajang joahaneun angyeongeul bureotteuryeoseo.
  4. Someone has just hit your car.
    • 어떤 사람이 방금 네 차를 쳤어.
    • Eotteon sarami banggeum ne chareul chyeoseo.
  5. I’m getting married.
    • 나 결혼해.
    • Na gyeolhonhae.
  6. You won a free ticket.
    • 공짜 티켓에 당첨되셨습니다.
    • Gongjja tikese dangcheomdoesyeotseumnida.
  7. I saw your car being towed.
    • 네 차가 견인되는 걸 봤어.
    • Ne chaga gyeonindoeneun geol bwaseo.
  8. They’re giving away free gift cards in front of the building.
    • 사람들이 건물 앞에서 무료 상품권을 나눠주고 있어.
    • Saramdeuri geonmul apeseo muryo sangpumgwoneul nanwojugo iseo.
  9. A handsome guy is waiting for you outside.
    • 잘 생긴 남자가 밖에서 널 기다리고 있어.
    • Jal saenggin namjaga bakkeseo neol gidarigo iseo.
  10. A beautiful lady asked me to give this phone number to you.
    • 예쁜 여자가 너한테 이 전화 번호를 전해달래.
    • Yeppeun yeojaga neohante i jeonhwa beonhoreul jeonhaedallae.
  11. Can you come downstairs? I have something special for you.
    • 아래층으로 내려 올래? 널 위해 특별히 준비한 게 있어.
    • Araecheungeuro naeryeo ollae? Neol wihae teukbyeolhi junbihan ge iseo.
  12. Thank you for your love letter this morning. I never could have guessed your feelings.
    • 오늘 아침 러브레터 고마워. 나는 절대 네 마음을 알아차리지 못했을 거야.
    • Oneul achim reobeureteo gomawo. Naneun jeoldae ne maeumeul arachariji motaeseul geoya.

Choose your victims carefully, though; the idea is to get them to laugh with you, not to hurt their feelings or humiliate them in front of others. Be extra careful if you choose to play a prank on your boss - you don’t want to antagonize them with an inappropriate joke.

3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody

Choose Bad or Good

Right, now that you know the top million April Fools’ words in Korean, let’s look at some super pranks and tricks to play on friends, colleagues and family. Some April Fools ideas never grow old, while new ones are born every year.

Never joke in such a way that it hurts anyone, or humiliates them badly in front of others - the idea is for everybody to laugh and enjoy the fun! Respect is still key, no matter what day of the year it is.

Cockroach prank

1- Infestation

This trick is so simple, yet so creepy, it’s almost unbelievable. Take black paper, cut out the silhouette of a giant cockroach, a spider or another insect, and stick it inside the lampshade of a table lamp. When the lamp is switched on, it will look like a monstrous insect is sitting inside the lampshade. Or, get a whole lot of realistic-looking plastic insects, and spread them over a colleague’s desk and chair, or, at home, over the kids’ beds etc. Creep-factor: stellar.

2- Which One Doesn’t Fit?

Put the photo of a celebrity or a notorious politician in a frame, and take it to work on April Fools’ Day. Hang the photo on the staff picture wall, and wait. You’ll be surprised how long it can take for people to notice that one picture doesn’t fit.

3- Something Weird in the Restroom

At work, replace the air freshener in the restroom with something noxious like insect killer, oven cleaner or your own odious mixture in a spray bottle. Be sure to cover the bottle’s body so no one suspects a swap.

Or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, and leave it at the hand wash basin. It will not lather.

Or, if your workplace’s restroom has partitioned toilets with short doors, arrange jeans or trousers and shoes on all but one of the toilet covers, so it looks like every stall is occupied. Now wait for complaints, and see how long it takes for someone to figure out the April Fools’ Day prank. You’ll probably wish you had a camera inside the restroom. But, unless you don’t mind getting fired, don’t put your own recording device in there!

Funny Face

4- Call Me Funny

Prepare and print out a few posters with the following instructions: Lion Roar Challenge! Call this number - 123-456-7890 - and leave your best lion’s roar as voicemail! Best roarer will be announced April 10 in the cafeteria. Prize: $100. (Lion’s roar is just an example; you can use any animal call, or even a movie character’s unique sound, such as Chewbacca from Star Wars. The weirder, the funnier. Obviously!) Put the posters up in the office where most of the staff is likely to see them. Now wait for the owner of the number to visit you with murderous intent. Have a conciliatory gift ready that’s not a prank.

5- Minty Cookies

This is another simple but hugely effective prank - simply separate iced cookies, scrape off the icing, and replace it with toothpaste. Serve during lunch or tea break at work, or put in your family’s lunch boxes. Be sure to take photos of your victim’s faces when they first bite into your April Fools’ cookies.

6- Wild Shopping

At your local grocer, place a realistic-looking plastic snake or spider among the fresh vegetables. Now wait around the corner for the first yell.

7- The Oldest Trick in the Book

Don’t forget probably the oldest, yet very effective April Fools’ joke in the book - smearing hand cream or Vaseline on a door handle that most staff, family or friends are likely to use. Yuck to the max!

8- Sneeze On Me

Another golden oldie is also gross, yet harmless and utterly satisfying as a prank. Fill a small spray bottle that you can easily conceal with water. Walk past a friend, colleague or one of your kids, and fake a sneeze while simultaneously spraying them with a bit of water. Expect to be called a totally disgusting person. Add a drop of lovely smelling essential oil to the water for extra confusion.

9- Word Play Repairs

Put a fresh leek in the hand wash basin at home or work, and then tell your housemates or colleagues this: “There’s a huge leak in the restroom/bathroom basin, it’s really serious. Please can someone go have a look?!” Expect exasperation and smiles all around. Note that this prank is only likely to work where people understand English well.

10- Scary Face

Print out a very scary face on an A4 sheet of paper, and place it in a colleague’s, or one of your kid’s drawers, so it’s the first thing they see when they open the drawer. You may not be very popular for a while.

11- Wake Up To Madness

Put foamy shaving cream, or real whipped cream on your hand, and wake your kid up by tickling their nose with it. As long as they get the joke, this could be a wonderful and fun way to start April Fools’ Day.

Computer Prank

12- Computer Prank

This one’s fabulous, if you have a bit of time to fiddle with a colleague, friend or your kid’s computer. It is most effective on a computer where most of the icons they use are on the desktop background itself (as opposed to on the bottom task bar).

Take and save a screenshot of their desktop with the icons. Set this screenshot as their background image. Now delete all the working icons. When they return to their computer, wait for the curses when no amount of clicking on the icons works.

13- Monster Under the Cup

This one will also work well anywhere people meet. Take a paper cup, and write the following on it in black pen: “Danger! Don’t lift, big spider underneath.” Place it upside-down on prominent flat surface, such as a kitchen counter, a colleague’s desk or a restaurant table. Expect some truly interesting responses.

Door Prank

14- Prank Door

Write in large letters on a large and noticeable piece of paper: PUSH. Tape this notice on a door that should be pulled to open, and watch the hilarious struggle of those clever souls who actually read signs.

4. How Can KoreanClass101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?

If you happen to visit Korea, or if you work for any Korean company, knowing the above Korean prankster phrases can really lighten up your day. Showing you have a sense of humor can go a long way to cement good relationships in any situation. These phrases are at your disposal for free, as well as are these 100 core Korean words, which you will learn how to pronounce perfectly.

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Also, don’t stop at learning April Fools’ phrases in Korean - bone up your Korean language skills with these FREE key phrases. Yes, KoreanClass101 doesn’t joke when it comes to effective, fun and easy learning.

Now, as a bonus, test our super-learning technology, and learn the Top 1000 most useful phrases in Korean below! But that’s not all. Read on to learn how you can be eligible for large enrollment discounts at KoreanClass101.

5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Korean - testing new technology

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Seollal, the Korean New Year’s Day!

Hi everyone! In this blog post, we will focus on the importance of 설날(seollal) and the festivities that native Koreans enjoy during this important holiday.

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Table of Contents

  1. 설날(Seollal) and Its Importance in Korea
  2. Paying Tribute to Ancestors During 설날(seollal)
  3. 세배(sebae), the New Year Bowing
  4. 떡국(tteokguk) and other Korean Traditional Dishes
  5. Traditional Games

1. 설날(Seollal) and Its Importance in Korea

설날(seollal)= The ”Lunar New Year Holiday” is one of the most important holidays for native Koreans as this is a time when nearly everyone heads back to their 고향(gohyang)=”hometown” to visit their 부모님(bumonim)=”parents” and 친척(chincheok)=”relatives” to celebrate the New Year, enjoy food, and to hold memorial ceremonies for their ancestors.

This means that tourists planning to visit Korea at the beginning of a new year need to check every year to see which day 설날(seollal) falls upon, as it is different from the New Year that western countries celebrate. In actuality, native Koreans take time off twice to celebrate the New Year Holidays!

The first celebration takes place on January 1st every year as it does in western countries–native Koreans call this holiday 신정(sinjeong), or the “Solar New Year Holiday”. 설날(seollal), or 구정(gujeong)= the ”Lunar New Year Holiday”, is a bit trickier–as the actual date of celebration changes every year. This means you will sometimes people take time off in January, and sometimes in February. Why is this?

This is because 구정(gujeong), which native Koreans also call 설날(seollal)= “Lunar New Year’s Day”, goes by the 음력 달력(eumnyeok dallyeok), or “Lunar Calendar”.

So if you want to check which day 설날(seollal), or 구정(gujeong) lands on, you could ask:

올해 구정은 언제입니까?
Olhae gujeongeun eonjeimnikka?
“When is the Lunar New Year’s Day this year?”

Or

올해 설날은 언제예요?
Olhae seollareun eonjeyeyo?
“When is the Lunar New Year’s Day this year?”

In 2018, 설날(seollal) falls on February 16th.

While 설날(seollal) is actually just a day, most native Koreans brave hours on the road to visit their 부모님(bumonim)=”parents” and their 고향(gohyang)=”hometown”, so the government designates approximately 3 days as public holidays. If the last day of the holidays is a 금요일(geumyoil)=”Friday” or the beginning of the holidays is a 월요일(woryoil)=”Monday”, you can consider the connecting 주말(jumal)=”weekend” as a part of the holidays and plan your trip accordingly.

Most people will plan their visits strategically as the 귀경길(gwigyeongkkil) =”the road/trip home” may take hours and you may find yourself stuck in traffic. So some people book 기차표(gichapyo)=”train tickets” and 비행기표(bihaenggipyo)=”airplane tickets” months in advance to avoid the traffic congestion.

Of course, in recent times, some people use this holiday period to go overseas, but most native Koreans will endure the long hours on the road for time with their family.

Paying Tribute to Ancestors

2. Paying Tribute to Ancestors During 설날(seollal)

One of the reasons why native Koreans head back to their hometowns to meet with their parents and relatives is to get together to pay tribute to their ancestors through a ceremony called 차례(charye), or 제사(jesa), which means ”a memorial ceremony for ancestors”.

For this ceremony, family members will prepare various dishes to be placed on a low table, including fish, meat, rice, fruit and other dishes and alcohol that the deceased ancestors liked. Once the table has been set, family members will light 향(hyang)=”incense”, then 절하다(jeolhada)=”bow” to the ancestors to show respect. They will also stick chopsticks straight up into the 밥그릇(bapgeureut)=”bowl of rice” and ask the spirits of the ancestors to visit and enjoy the food prepared by the living members of the household.

This is why after the holidays are over, you may overhear native Koreans having a conversation such as:

A: 설날에 뭐했어요?
Seollare mwohaesseoyo?
“What did you do during ‘seollal’?”

B: 가족도 만나고 제사도 드렸어요.
Gajokdo mannago jesado deuryeosseoyo.
“I met my family and we had a memorial ceremony for our ancestors.”

Korean New Year

3. 세배(sebae), the New Year Bowing

세배(sebae)=”bowing” is a very important part of the Lunar New Year holiday. 세배(sebae) is kneeling on the ground and bow one’s head to the floor. Usually, younger people will bow to members of the family that are older and wish them a happy new year by saying:

새해 복 많이 받으세요.
Saehae bok mani badeuseyo.
“Wishing that you receive a lot of luck in the new year.”

In return, the family members on the receiving side prepare 세벳돈(sebetdon)=”money in return for receiving a bow”. As this act is done for someone older/senior, people will describe it using the verb 드리다(deurida)=”honorific form of the verb ‘give’”.

Example:

할머니께 세배 드렸어요.
halmeonikke sebae deuryeosseoyo.
“I bowed to my grandmother.”

would mean ‘I did the sebae bow’. When bowing, you can say 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (sehae bok mani badeuseyo), which means ‘Have lots of luck in the new year’.

Korean Dish

4. 떡국(tteokguk) and other Korean Traditional Dishes

One traditional dish that every native Korean will eat during the 설날(seollal) holidays is 떡국(tteokguk)=”rice cake soup”. The base of the soup differs depending on the province, but most families will prepare a bone marrow soup and add sliced rice cakes, egg, and chopped spring onions. The reason why native Koreans eat this dish is because people believe that in order to become a year older, you need to eat a bowl of this rice cake soup. Some people jokingly state after they’ve cleared two bowls of 떡국(tteokguk) that they have aged not one, but two years as they finished two bowls instead of one!

Another dish you will see is 전(jeon)=”fried pancakes”. This is not actually a pancake, but various ingredients such as meat or fish, or sometimes vegetables, which are rolled in flour and dipped in raw beaten egg before being fried. It takes time to prepare, but is very delicious and commonly found in every household during the 설날(seollal) holidays.

Traditional Games

5. Traditional Games

Once family members gather, there is only so much to talk about. So everyone gathers around to play various traditional games. The most commonly played game is 윷놀이(yunnori), a traditional Korean board game. It is a very simple game–there are four wooden sticks, which are rounded on one side and flat on the other. You split into two teams, with each member represented by a ‘piece’ you move around the board. Each member throws the sticks and moves their pieces around the board according to how the sticks have landed. All the members of the team need to finish the game before the opposing team in order to win.

How to Say Happy New Year in Korean & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Korean New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join KoreanClass101 for a special Korean New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Korean

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Korean? Let a native teach you! At KoreanClass101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Korean New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in Korea
  2. Must-Know Korean Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Korean
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn Korean

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Korean New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in Korea

Did you know every Korean get 1 year older on January 1st on New Year’s Day? Yes, that’s how Korean age works and how Koreans get older, and that’s why New Year’s Day is more special in Korea.

There are two New Year’s Day in Korea; one is 구정 (gujeong) and 신정 (sinjeong.) 구정 (gujeong) is the New Year holiday based on the lunar calendar. It’s considered more traditional than the other one, 신정 (sinjeong), which is based on the solar calendar.

During the traditional new year holiday, family get-togethers take place. However, recently fewer and fewer people are visiting their hometown during 구정 (gujeong), because of the heavy traffic jams from Seoul to other cities. Instead, more and more people are visiting their family on 신정 (sinjeong), the New Year holiday on the solar calendar, or other weekends. Moreover, sometimes parents visit their sons’ or daughters’ houses instead. In Korean, this trend is called 역귀성 (yeok-gwiseong) which means “Reversed homecoming.” As it takes too much time to go from Seoul to other cities, the parents take a trip to Seoul instead.

Happy New Year!
새해 복 많이 받으세요!
Saehae bok mani badeuseyo.

2. Must-Know Korean Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Korean Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year


nyeon

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in Korea could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

자정
jajeong

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

새해 첫날
saehae cheonnal

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

4- Party

파티
pati

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing


chum

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

샴페인
syampein

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

불꽃놀이
bulkkotnori

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

카운트 다운
kaunteu daun

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

연말 연시
yeonmal yeonsi

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

색종이 조각
saekjjongi jogak

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

섣달 그믐
Seotdal Geumeum

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

건배
geonbae

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

새해소원
saehaesowon

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

퍼레이드
peoreideu

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At KoreanClass101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Korean New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

So, you learned the Korean word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at KoreanClass101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Korean friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

다독하기
dadokhagi

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Korean in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Korean language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

가족과 더욱 많은 시간 보내기
gajokgwa deouk maneun sigan bonaegi

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

체중감량하기
chejunggamnyanghagi

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

소비절약하기
sobijeoryakhagi

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to KoreanClass101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

금연하기
geumnyeonhagi

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

새로운 것 배우기 새로운 것 배우기
saeroun geot baeugi

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

절주하기
jeoljjuhagi

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

규칙적으로 운동하기
gyuchikjjeogeuro undonghagi

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

건강한 식습관 가지기
geonganghan siksseupkkwan gajigi

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Korean with KoreanClass101

KoreanClass101.com으로 한국어 공부하기
KoreanClass101.comeuro hangugeo gongbuhagi

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Korean, especially with us! Learning how to speak Korean can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. KoreanClass101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Korean new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Korean, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Korean incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with KoreanClass101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Korean could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Korean - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Korean - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with KoreanClass101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Korean! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that KoreanClass101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Korean at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Korean that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Korean with KoreanClass101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean

How to Say Merry Christmas in Korean

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean? KoreanClass101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Korean Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Korean speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, KoreanClass101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Korea
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Korea

Christmas Words in Korean

Do you know what day the 25th of December is? Many nations celebrate that day as Christmas. And Korea is no exception. In this blog, you’ll learn about how Koreans celebrate Christmas Day.

Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: when you think of Christmas, I bet you can’t help but think of Santa Claus, right? But in Korea, Santa Claus is usually called by another name. Do you know what that name is?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

In South Korea, you can’t take the “donation” out of Christmas, so around Christmas time, you’ll see many Salvation Army charity donation pots or 구세군 냄비(gusegun-naembi). You’ll run into these donation pots all over the city from the beginning of December. It’s the season of giving, and many people donate money to people who have to bear the harsh winter around this time of year. If you visit Korea during this season, you’ll see people putting 1,000 won and 10,000 won bills into the pot.

Also during the Christmas season, you can often hear Christmas carols. Every year in Korea, famous comedians release a carol. Using their own buzzwords to make lyrics and the music of a famous carol, they release their own special Christmas carols. You’ll almost certainly hear these carols in South Korea.

Since about thirty percent of Koreans are Christian, many people go to church on Christmas. After lunch time, they spend time with their families or partners. That’s why you can see many people gathering downtown or in shopping malls.

Additionally, there are people, sometimes called “One Thousand Four Angel Santas” or 1004(천사)명의 산타 (cheonsamyeong-ui santa) who spend Christmas giving gifts to orphans and bringing food to the elderly who live alone. Christmas is the day, regardless of religion, when people can show kindness to one another.

Here’s our fun fact for the day! Did you know that Christmas has another name in Korea? It’s 성탄절(Seongtan-jeol.) 성(Seong), is the Chinese character meaning “holy” and 탄(Tan) means “birth.” So together 성탄(seongtan) means “the day the holy person was born.” This can be used as another name for Christmas.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question: what is Santa Claus called in Korea? In Korea, Santa Claus goes by another name; he’s called “Grandfather Santa.” or 산타 할아버지 (santa-hallabeoji) When you call him grandfather, you feel much closer, right? These days, sometimes you can also see or hear about Grandmother Santa or 산타 할머니(santa halmeoni).

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

1- Merry Christmas!

메리 크리스마스!
Meri Keuriseumaseu!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

해피 콴자!
haepi kwanja!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

행복한 새해 되세요!
haengbokan saehae doeseyo!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

해피 하누카!
haepi hannukah!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

겨울 휴가 잘 보내세요!
gyeoul hyuga jal bonaeseyo!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

내년에 뵙겠습니다!
naenyeone boepkketsseumnida!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

행운을 빌며!
haenguneul bilmyeo!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Korean Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

행복한 휴일 보내세요!
haengbokan hyuil bonaeseyo!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Korean, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

휴일 잘 즐기세요!
hyuil jal jeulgiseyo!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

새해 복 많이 받으세요!
saehae bok mani badeuseyo!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Korean! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At KoreanClass101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

크리스마스
keuriseumaseu

This is the Korean word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Korean will include this word!

2- Snow


nun

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

눈송이
nunsongi

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

눈사람
nunsaram

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

칠면조
chilmyeonjo

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

화환
hwahwan

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

순록
sunnok

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

산타 클로스
santa keulloseu

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

꼬마 요정
kkoma yojeong

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

루돌프 사슴코
rudolpeu saseumko

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

북극
Bukgeuk

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

썰매
sseolmae

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

선물
seonmul

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell

크리스마스 종
keuriseumaseu jong

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

굴뚝
gulttuk

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

벽난로
byeognanro

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

크리스마스
Keuriseumaseu

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

장식
jangsik

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

크리스마스 양말
keuriseumaseu yangmal

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

호랑 가시 나무
horang gasi namu

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

과자집
gwajajip

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

사탕 지팡이
satang jipangi

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

겨우살이
gyeousari

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Korean, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Korean! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

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So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in KoreanClass101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!