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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!

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.

6. KoreanClass101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

Visit KoreanClass101!

We don’t just say this - we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From Korean for Absolute Beginners to Advanced Korean, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, KoreanClass101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct Korean. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

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!

Korean Culture - Chuseok/Hangawi Festive

Chuseok is a festive holiday in Korea and last for three days. It is also called Hangawi and is celebrated on the fifteen of August or the 15th day of their lunar calendar. It is a harvest festival that takes place around the Autumn Equinox like other harvest festivals do.

The celebration begins with the Korean people visiting the ancestors in their hometown and sharing their traditional cuisine with each other.

This holiday has historic values to the Korean people as it represents the third king’s reign of the third Kingdom of Silla. During this time, there was a contest of weaving among two teams.

The team that won had to treat the other team to a feast of traditional food. Some believe that its origin came from the celebration of the Harvest Moon and a ritual of worship.

Some areas of Korea do not celebrate Chuseok if they don’t have an annual harvest and their worship is put off too for the same reason.

South Korea has some modern areas that celebrate Chuseok to maximum proportion where they will go in mass crowds to their hometowns and pay their respect to their ancestor’s spirits. They also worship their ancestors with early morning rituals.

They go to visit the graves of their direct ancestors and clean up the area around the grave site. They will even go to the extent of offering food and drink to those ancestors who have died because they believe that the harvesting of their crops is due to the blessings given to them by their ancestors.

During the Chuseok festivities, one of the main foods that are prepared for eating is the songpyeon, which is a rice cake steamed on pine needles. They will also prepare common dishes such as japchae, fruits and bulgogi.

The Koreans anticipate a rich harvest and the coming of autumn so they use this time in celebration of those occurrences by playing folk games. The people in the village dress up like cows or turtles and go to each house playing their musical bands.

Included in their games are tug of war, archery and cock fighting. In the southwestern regions, a circular dance under the moon is performed by the women and the children.

Korean Holidays - Korean Constitution Day

Constitution Day in South Korea takes place on July 17th each year. It celebrates the exact day that the Korean Constitution was put in effect since 1948. The decision to make this day the chosen day for this holiday came three years after the defeat of Japan in World War II as well as after the elections and when the members of the national assembly were selected.

Soon after all of this took place including the announcement of Constitution Day, on August 18th, the First Republic of Korea was formally launched.

The laws on public holidays in South Korea was agreed upon in October 1948 and that is the same time that July 17th became the designated holiday for Constitution Day in South Korea.

The main attraction during Constitution Day does not include any particular festivities, but citizens usually participate in marathons. They run the long distance race on the streets of South Korea as an indication of their solidarity and respect for this National holiday.

A memorial service is performed on July 17th of each year and it serves to profess the protection of the Korean Constitution in light of democracy.

In 2008, Constitution Day was officially taken away from the public sector as being a non-working day. Citizens still have to go to work. This was administered when the government decided that they needed to reduce the number of non-working holidays that citizens could enjoy. Arbor Day (plant a tree day) and Constitution Day fell in that same category even though they are still considered as public holidays.

Constitution Day marked the signing of the Korean Constitution as well as the end of the imperial rule that the Japanese had to undergo in 1945.

Constitution Day was the day when South Korea and North Korea became divided. It is not a day that many individuals want to remember since they are being separated from their families who live in other parts of Korea.

This particular day is mostly a reminder of the political impact that was created due to South Korean government’s decision to become their own entity.

Korean Culture - (Hyeonchung-il) Korean Memorial Day

The Independence movement of Korea and experiences of the war mark the beginning of Memorial Day as a public holiday to commemorate the loss of lives that Koreans underwent. On Memorial Day, the Korean flag is flown at half staff as a reminder of the tragedy and death of both men and women who died while they served in the military.

This momentous occasion is celebrated every year on June 6th and is in memory of those who died in the Korean War. A memorial service is held on that day in the National cemetery of Seoul.

The emotional and physical scars left behind tell the tale of sadness as South Koreans try to give credence to those who suffered and died for their country. The President of Korea usually speaks during the lavish ceremony that commemorates the occasion.

The Koreans think that they suffered more losses than even the losses suffered in World War II and also think that the war is still ongoing because of the conflict between countries like the United States. They call this “the cold war.”

So the Memorial Day celebration is more than about the dying soldiers, but those who are still living in the conflict of the world.

The historical Korean War marked the attack on Seoul by North Korea and the killing of over seven thousand people. The survivors served unwillingly in the Korean War because they were forced to do so. This is why the Memorial Day celebration is held in Seoul as a reminder of that attack.

In 1994, the Korean government opened up a War Museum in Seoul as an indication of the Memorial Day celebration. It has about six rooms with exhibitions of what took place during the war and about thirteen thousand war items displayed. The museum is located on the headquarters of the army base and has two upper floors and two lower floors.

On the exterior of the museum there are military equipments on display that represented the Korean War. The museum houses a combat room that allows visitors to experience what the soldiers went through during the nights at war time.

May is Family Month - Save 30%!

The Month of May in Korea is often called Family Month. There’s Children’s Day, Parent’s Day, and Teacher’s Day. Korea takes Mother’s Day to a whole different level! On these days you give your Children, Parents and Teachers gifts to show them how much you appreciate them. Children often benefit the most with candy and money being popular gifts. Teachers get quite a lot of gifts as well as they have many students and parents to receive gifts from. And that’s why the month of May is called Family month in Korea!

Well… did you learn something new about Korea?

If you did, you’ll be glad to know that you’ll learn cultural tidbits in every single lesson at KoreanClass101.com! In every lesson, not only will you learn Korean that will have you speaking Korean in minutes, you’ll also learn cultural tidbits that will amaze your Korean friends! With KoreanClass101.com, you get ALL of your Korean needs; including the language and culture (it’s company policy)!

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Children’s Day - Tylenol’s favorite holiday in Korea

Children’s Day. May 5.

Again with the Love Day reference, this holiday is dedicated to the cute little monsters that plague the countryside and cities. It was founded by the Korea’s answer to Dr. Seuss back in 1923. Its fascination by well-written foreigners knows no limits. Pack up the aspirin because it’s going to be a long day…

Thought Korean kids were spoiled? Today you are so right. Today, Korean children are calling the shots. Highways packed, zoos overcrowded, ice cream screaming for its life…poor little vanilla never had a chance…there will be sweets consumed today. Oh yes. There will be sweets.

Vanilla Ice Cream Doesn't Want To be Eaten

Speaking of spoiled, it might benefit everyone to take a moment and analyze why exactly this is the case. I mean, by some Westerner’s standards, Korean kids are little princes and princesses. We have a maxim in English that comes to mind; “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. Well, plenty of Americans think that this is crap and it basically sets the kid up for failure in the future. I can speak for my family in that my parents did like many others by not giving into a child’s demands. But can I just say that I have been asking for a trampoline for Christmas since I was like four? Lousy Santa has been holding out on me…

Anyways, this cultural difference begs to have another idiom throw around “Can’t see the forest for the trees”. The problem lies in the timing. Korean parents know what they are doing, just as in America, but it’s done a little bit later in life.

In America, we stress at a very early age to be self-reliant. If a five year old can’t tie their own shoes, most would agree that it is better to teach the child as soon as possible instead of just tying it for them. This transition period where the kid can’t figure out why on earth his shoes aren’t already tied (he did say ‘please’ ) is very common in America. It takes a bit more time to teach instead of simply doing, sure. It is stressful for the child and adult but ultimately follows a normative cultural expectation. Remember “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll feed himself for a lifetime.” It is in the child’s best interest to learn as soon as possible. Similarly, when a kid acts up in the grocery store, American parents are generally quick to reprimand the child with negative reinforcement in hopes that in the future they will become socialized. I myself once received some negative reinforcement in the form of my mother walking away in disgust whilst leaving my father holding me in his arms crying bloody murder, my big brother eating a box of not-yet-purchased saltine crackers in the shopping basket, and my oldest brother shrieking in terror over the little cartoon devil on the Deviled Ham package. Oh good times at the Piggly Wiggly.

Deviled Ham

Where was I? Oh yeah. Well, this is the same in Korea (socialization, not deviled ham). The ultimate goal is to socialize the child. However, until a child in Korea reaches a certain age, they can get away with (relative) murder. Why?

Simply put, their little lives will suck later on in life. Korean adults know this. They know the pressure, they know the concern, they know the shock that will ensue once they hit junior high. So what is a caring parent to do? Let the kids enjoy their childhood. When viewed through a different set of cultural lens, this makes perfect sense.

So, the timing is a little different - American kids get socialized pretty early on while Korean kids get a free pass until primary school. But make no mistake, Korea has social etiquette down to a science and, frankly, puts America to shame in the formal manners department. This isn’t to say that Americans are inherently rude, but it’s a little unfair to battle hundreds of years of detailed, refined social hierarchy. Oh well. We invented the chocolate chip cookie. Live with that, world.

So days like Children’s Day are to celebrate children and allow them to enjoy pleasant memories with family relatives. Yes, a day for children to run free, play games, and just be kids. Just don’t forget the aspirin.

Thoughts?

화이트데이 - reverse Valentine’s Day in Korea (White Day)

화이트데이.

I’m not entirely comfortable with the name of this holiday. I mean, I’m probably absolutely looking too far into the name of White Day as something bad, but I digress.

Actually, in a different ranting vein, seems that all the holidays on the 14th of each month are kind of like Love Day. White day is another one of these holidays seemingly made by the chocolate companies in order to entice people to buy sweets and candies.

On this particular demi-holiday, men give chocolate sweets to their girlfriends to let them know nothing has changed and you’re still just as cute as you were the day we met although now that i think about it you don’t try as much anymore, you make me feel bad for hanging out with my drinking buddies, and you boss me around more than your little brother but oh well you still like them.

As you can imagine, this day can get a little repetitious for older couples. Just like in America, married couples might exchange more expensive gifts on such couple days to keep with the spirit of the day without resorting the same gift as last year.

Isn't she cute?

White Day should be a fun day and it’s one of the more noticeable 14th holidays (as opposed to Kiss Day - nope, I didn’t make that one up). This day is also quite predictably a couple day much like Christmas in Korea. But for those of you who get shucked on March 14th, hold your innermost emo-ness for 30 more days to celebrate how miserable you really are that you’re not alone on Black day with other dateless bums single friends.

See you in a month, fellow Black Dayers.

Jaded much? Thoughts?

March First Movement - 삼일 운동 (Korean Independence)

삼일 운동 (만세운동).

Two days ago was a very important holiday for Korea.

Like most nations, many historically important holidays mark a day that symbolizes a particular feeling or thought. In Texas, we have the Battle of the Alamo. This was a tragic military loss in every sense of the word during the Texas Revolution. Yes, a failure - the well-trained Mexican army outnumbered the beleaguered defenders 10 to 1. In fact, Mexican Army General Santa Anna even gave the defenders a chance to surrender. If you know Texas, then you can guess which finger the defenders raised in response. Essentially, the Mexican army ended up slaughtering just about everyone inside. However, this seemingly foolish decision to fight the organized Mexican army ended up inspiring others to take up arms against Mexico and eventually led to Mexico’s defeat and Texas’s independence a month later.

This battle is studied today because it represents Texans’ courage, determination, and pride - even though it was a bloody loss that had a snowball’s chance in hell of ending in victory - not to mention that plenty of people who defended the Alamo weren’t even from Texas.

I bring up this comparison because 삼일 운동 represents something similar to Korea. On March 1st, 1919 Korean underground fighters declared themselves independent of the Japanese colonial rule. In response, a combined Japanese force made up of police and military killed approximately seven thousand unarmed protesters. Japanese rule would continue for another 26 years (1910-1945).

This day helps to represent Korean nationalism. It was a revolt started primarily by students inspired by a speech by American president Woodrow Wilson. With or without the speech, this was a long time coming as the tension had been mounting for years. Like “Remember the Alamo” after the original 33 protesters were arrested it sparked support in ordinary civilians nationwide. A month after the initial protest, a provincial government was setup in Shanghai to carry out the wishes and desires of Koreans seeking independence from Japan.

This day was linked to anti-Japanese sentiment years after the fact but was originally designed to be a peaceful, nonviolent movement. Unfortunately, its brutal suppression is what likely makes it so famous now. It is now regarded as one of the most important events in Korean independence history. Since then, efforts have been made to restore native Korean architecture set in place prior to Japanese occupation.

Protestors - circa 1919

I wonder if events like the March First Movement are taught in school the same way that the Alamo is taught. I have to be honest, in Texas, the Alamo story is told fairly biased with a heavy emphasis on the bravery and courage demonstrated by the defenders. In the case of March First, at what point in a student’s academic career is it taught in Korea? Is the March First Movement even taught in Japan? Does the everyday Korean  student even care anymore about events that transpired almost one hundred years ago? I understand that it’s a fairly sensitive subject even to this day but I’m curious in a academic sense how Korean history is taught.

Thoughts?