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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class: Holidays in South Korea Series on KoreanClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Korean holidays and observances. I’m Brandon, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 12: 단오 (Dano), the Fifth Day of the Fifth Month.
Do you remember what holiday is on May 5th of the solar calendar? Children's Day, right? Well what about May 5th of the lunar calendar? In Korea, it's a holiday known as 단오 (Dano). They say that 단오 (Dano) has the best weather of the year, which gives it good energy, so many events are held that day.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about 단오 (Dano), the best day of the year.
But before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: there is a specific time on 단오 (Dano) when energy is at its highest level. Do you know when that is?
If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
On 단오 (Dano) day, Koreans eat a special rice cake called 수리취 떡 (surichui ddeok). 수리취(Surichui) is an herb that grows high in the mountains. 수리취 떡 (surichui ddeok) is rice cake with 수리취(Surichui) inside. When it's made, a round piece of wood shaved into the shape of a wheel is pressed on top of the cake to create a special pattern. That's why it looks fancier than other rice cakes. Thanks to its fancy appearance, you can often find these on tables at Korean tea houses.
While 단오 (Dano) is on May 5th of the lunar calendar, it usually occurs sometime in June or July of the solar calendar. Since it's summertime, colder foods are eaten. For example, cherries and fruit salad represent 단오 (Dano).
After picking cherries and cleaning them, Koreans soak them in sugar and honey to make them sweeter. Then they put the cherries into a soup that includes a woody vine to create a drinkable fruit salad. These days, ice is often added to make it even cooler. In Korean, it’s called 화채 (hwachae.)
단오 (Dano) often brings a particular event to mind. It's the 강릉단오제 (Gangneung Danoje) Festival in 강릉(Gangneung) city, in 강원도(Gangwon-do) Province. The 단오 (Dano) Festival is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage event and occurs for a long time at a large scale. Unlike other traditional rites that usually last a day, this ceremony goes from April 15th until May 6th, for a total of twenty days.
Here's our fun fact for the day! Did you know that long ago, there was a plant called 창포 (Changpo) that people used to wash their hair with? On 단오 (Dano), Korean people used this plant to wash their hair. Just like with shampoo, your hair would be nicer if you used this plant.
Now it’s time to answer our quiz question: when is the energy level the highest on 단오 (Dano)? That time is said to be between eleven o’clock in the morning and one o’clock in the afternoon. That means energy is at its peak all year at noon on 단오 (Dano) day. That's why, unlike the Day of the First Full Moon, many events are held during the day on 단오 (Dano.)
How was this lesson? Did you learn a lot of interesting things?
In your country, do you have any events recognized by UNESCO?
Please leave us a comment at KoreanClass101.com.
And we'll see you next time!