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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 13: Double Seventh Day.
Are you familiar with the Korean version of Valentine's Day? A Korean legend handed down for many years tells of two lovers who, despite their love for each other, can only meet once a year. It's the tale of two lovers- 견우(Gyeon-wu) and 직녀(Jingnyeo.)
In this lesson, we’ll learn about Double Seventh Day, which takes place on July 7th of the lunar calendar or 칠월칠석 (chilwolchilseok), and about the legend of these two lovers.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: other countries besides Korea celebrate Double Seventh Day. Do you know which countries they are?
If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
In order to fully explain Double Seventh Day, I'm going to tell you about the two lovers. 견우(Gyeon-wu) and 직녀(Jingnyeo.)
The Jade Emperor or 옥황상제 (okwangsangje), the king of the heavens, had a daughter named 직녀(Jingnyeo.). She fell in love with a boy named 견우(Gyeon-wu), who watched over cows in the human world. The Jade Emperor was very angry because they stopped working and didn't do anything after falling in love. So he split the two lovers apart and put the Milky Way or 은하수 (eunhasu) in between them, but allowed them to see each other once a year on July 7th.
This tale is shared to this day. Villagers gather together and take part in activities to remember this sad love story. For example, they wish on the star named 직녀성 (Jingnyeo-seong). One of the stars next to the Milky Way is named the 직녀성(Jingnyeo-seong), after the female character’s name. On Double Seventh Day, people prepare a meal with Korean melons or 참외(cham-oe) and cucumbers in a place where the Star can be seen, and then they make a wish.
Do you know what events are held on Double Seventh Day? Just like Valentine’s Day, Double Seventh Day has many events for lovers. In the traditional Korean village located in the mountain 남산(Namsan), an event is held, in which couples can make a hand mirror. So why do lovers make a hand mirror on Double Seventh Day? They say that long ago, people would split the hand mirror in two and share it with the person they love. It means that they are each other's missing half.
Here's our fun fact for the day! Did you know that if it rains on Double Seventh Day, it has a special meaning? People believe that if it rains on Double Seventh Day, then the two lovers 견우(Gyeon-wu) and 직녀(Jingnyeo) are preparing to leave each other. They say the tears that they shed before they split up become the rain that falls.
Now it’s time to answer our quiz question: which other countries celebrate this day? The tale of 견우(Gyeon-wu) and 직녀(Jingnyeo) is not only told in Korea, but also in Japan and China. For example, Japanese people write wishes on a piece of paper and tie it to to a tree for Double Seventh Day, and many other Asian countries have events on this day.
How was this lesson? Did you learn a lot?
Does your country have a special day to celebrate love?
Please leave us a comment at KoreanClass101.com.
And we’ll see you next time!