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South Korean Traditions and Culture
The family as a unit is still an essential part in society so be considerate if you are visiting a traditional household in South Korea that the family will eat together and spend time together in order to learn about each other’s day.
As a result Korean ancestors are also very important in the culture and as children are generally raised to believe they can’t repay their debt to their parents it is popular in the country to worship ancestors with ceremonies that celebrate three generations including parents, grandparents and great-grandparents on New Year’s Day and the festival of Chusok where people cook and set out food to celebrate.
It is also important therefore to respect your elders when visiting the country so remember to give up your seat on a bus to an older person and when handing money to an older person say in a shop use both hands to do so and receive something from an elderly person with both hands. It is also good do a Jeol or bow to an older person and when eating at the table wait until the older person has finished before leaving.
If you eating out or at someone’s house you will no doubt be given Kimchi, which is a sliced cabbage dish fermented with red chilli sauce and anchovy paste. Koreans love this and usually have it on the side of every meal as well as using it as an ingredient in their food. It is symbolic of Korean culture as it is strong and distinctive.
Also, appropriate dress is very important in South Korea and a good rule of thumb is that skirts should fall to the knee so you can sit on the floor as the case may be when having dinner. If you are invited to dinner then dress up as Koreans like to look good for occasions such as guests coming over to eat.
There are many traditions in South Korea that are crucial to know to make your trip an easy one but it is also fun to learn the many traditions of this wonderful culture.