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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 14: 동지 (dongji) or the Winter Solstice.
In Korea during the winter, the days get shorter and the nights get longer. Do you know which night of the year is the longest? This day is called 동지(Dongji), the Winter Solstice, and it's usually on December 22nd or 23rd of the solar calendar. In this lesson, we’ll learn more about 동지(Dongji)
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: you already know that Dongji is the longest night of the year, but which day of the year is the longest?
If you don’t already know, then you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Korean people always eat a special food on Dongji called 팥죽(Patjuk) or “azuki-bean porridge.” After boiling red beans and making a porridge, they add a rice cake made from sticky rice and boil the porridge once more to make the porridge named 팥죽(Patjuk). The azuki-bean porridge doesn't spoil quickly and in the winter can be stored easily because of the cold weather. This porridge made on Dongji is usually stored around the house and eaten over a long period of time.
Long ago, people believed that ghosts hated the color of the red beans. So they stored 팥죽(Patjuk) in various places around the house to get rid of bad energy. They might also bury it in their yards for good luck in the coming New Year.
Even today, Koreans eat food made with red beans, like azuki-bean porridge, rice with red beans, or red-bean rice cakes when good or bad things happen. This is because, just like old times, they want to drive away the bad spirits and leave only good energy.
Here's our fun fact for the day! Did you know that villagers come together on Dongji and make new items to use in the coming year? They use the longest night of the year to make straw shoes or 짚신 (jipshin) for farming and other daily use items to prepare for the New Year.
Now it’s time to answer our quiz question: what’s the longest day of the year? While 동지(Dongji) is the longest night of year, the longest day of the year is called 하지(Haji.) It's usually around May 21st of the solar calendar. In ancient times, Korean people celebrated 하지(Haji) with a ritual to summon rain when people wanted a heavy rainfall for the growing season.
How was this lesson? Did you learn a lot?
Does your country have food, like 팥죽(Patjuk), that’s used to ward off bad energy?
Please leave us a comment at KoreanClass101.com.
And we'll see you next time!