Known for its mix of tradition and modernity, and its thousands of beautiful landscapes, South Korea is definitely a country worth visiting. In the first part of our article, we discovered more about its characteristics
Known for its mix of tradition and modernity, and its thousands of beautiful landscapes, South Korea is definitely a country worth visiting. In the first part of our article, we discovered more about its characteristics and culture and in today’s blog, we continue our discovery about its culture and learn more about its traditions. Enjoy your reading!
Art and Culture
Korean art has been recorded since the Stone Age. Over time, it has been consolidated into expressions such as calligraphy, music, painting and ceramics, where the main themes are nature, simplicity, balanced and soft colors and harmony.
As far as architecture is concerned, you can see monumental constructions that rest on stone foundations and rise to a curved roof covered with tiles. On the other hand, the architecture of religious sites has a Goguryeo style known as three pavilions – a pagoda.
On the other hand, South Korean literature dates back more than 1,500 years and has notable Chinese influences. In this sense, classical poetry has its origin in the oral narratives of folk ideology and consists of four poetic forms: hyangga, pyolgok, sijo and kasa. As for the prose, it is divided into fiction, oral tradition and stories. One of its most representative books is The Dream of the Cloud of Nine by writer Kim Manjung.
Talking about art also means talking about K-pop, one of the most revolutionary facets of South Korean culture today. K-pop is a choral pop that looks a bit like American pop. Major music agencies are responsible for training young people in singing, dancing, languages, and moral training before they make their debut and achieve worldwide fame.
The official language is Korean and here lies one of the great curiosities of South Korea, as it is practically its own invention spoken by more than 70 million people. This language, although it may seem similar, does not come from Chinese or Japanese.
This language has its own alphabet: Hangul, which was invented around the 15th century. Also, it can be understood as a phonetic system organized in syllabic blocks.
Now, let’s learn more about South Korea’s customs and traditions.
What People Think of You Is Important
One of the customs of South Korea is that what other people think of you is very important. This is something they have had in mind since they were children. It is common to talk about others when they are not present. These comments make your reputation, if it is good, it can lead you to fame, but if it is negative, it can sink you socially.
Thus, in South Korean culture, your value is based on your name or kibun, a word that does not have an exact translation in Spanish, but can be understood as pride. In this sense, if your kibun is damaged, you have also damaged the heritage of your ancestors. And this kibun is done in all facets of life.
To know the kibun of a person, you have to do nunchi, which is understood as the ability to analyze the body posture, to listen to the tone of the voice and to see the actions of the person. So nunchi is the ability to judge the kibun. And how to have a good kibun? In general, you should look harmonious, at peace with yourself, you should appear to sleep and eat well, and you should always be willing to help.
Education Is a High Priority
What is the most important tradition in South Korea? It is probably education. Thus, academic excellence is valued and practically demanded, as it is believed that a good professional future depends on it. It must be said that the pressure is extreme for three main reasons: only the best students get into universities, so you have to study a lot and have good averages.
The second reason is that the family expects them to become good and educated men and women. The third reason is that most Koreans want to study as a vocation. They are committed to doing their best to get a job they love and earn a lot of money along the way. If they fail, it’s not only a disappointment for themselves, but also for others. That’s why they spend over 16 hours a day studying!
Share with us in the comments below what you think about South Korea so far. And don’t forget to come back to check out the third part of our article where we’ll wrap up our list on the South Korean traditions.