Customs and Traditions
Here are two examples of Korean traditions:
- Special celebrations, known as paegil, take place on the 100th day after the birth of a child. Friends and family members are invited for a lavish meal. Traditionally, the first offering of soup and rice is made to the grandmother of the child. Also, to share the joy in the birth of the child, plates of rice cakes are sent to neighbors and friends who return the plates with money, rice (wishing the child a prosperous life), or a long thread (wishing the child a long and healthy life).
- Dol (doljanchi, or tol) is probably one of the best-known of the Korean birthday celebrations. Dol is celebrated for the first birthday of a child. When Korea had little medicinal knowledge, many newborns would die from childhood diseases or because of Korea’s seasonal temperature differences. When a child lived to be a year old during that period, it was a very joyous occasion.
Here are a few examples of customs in Seoul:
- If an elder, including a Korean superior, wants to drink with you, turn away as you sip your drink.
- When eating with a group, it is bad manners to let someone's glass sit empty. When you notice someone's water, beer, soju, or any beverage is running low, ask if they would like a refill.
- When pouring for an elder, pour with your right hand and use your left hand to hold your right arm as a show of respect.
- Money is revered and is also handed back and forth between people using two hands to show respect.