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Traditional Korea

sunny 63 °F

I decided to head out to the Korean Folk Village, a combination outdoor museum and small amusement park on the outskirts of Seoul. Turned out to be a pretty good decision. There were, as might be expected, hordes of kids on field trips and most of them were very young - 1st grade and below? They all carried identical backpacks and were cute as bugs, but I was reluctant to take any pictures. There was plenty more to see, though.

For starters, there are dozens of traditional buildings from farmhouses to provincial offices. Koreans are proud of their ancient adoption of the ondol, or in-floor heating systems that are widespread across Korea. Pretty tricky to arrange as it requires a wood fire be maintained under a wooden house to transmit heat without causing a fire! Another interesting innovation is the green roof, which I saw in the countryside on my last trip to Korea. Rural dwellings frequently grow squash on the roof - lots of sun up there and some protection from pests. Here's an example a bit past its prime.

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Lots of cultural information as well. They staged a traditional Korean wedding. I liked the part where each party is served a cup of tea. They take a sip and then the cups are exchanged and another sip taken. Pretty familiar from Western weddings and an interesting convergence. Rather nicer than smashing pieces of cake into each other's mouths!

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A few of my other favorite Korean customs on display.

Ancestor poles that clearly harken to Pacific Northwest and Northern Japanese totems.

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The tradition is to stay up all night on New Year's Eve. If you fall asleep, your eyebrows will turn white. Here's mom pranking her kid.

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My favorite is this one. When in labor, the wife is given a rope attached to her husbands hair and pulls it to share the pain of labor.

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And of course there was a demonstration of traditional Korean hip-hop

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Had another traditional Korean dish for lunch

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The square brown stuff is dotorimuk, which is a jelly made from acorns. Requires lots of washing to remove the bitter/toxic alkaloids from the acorns and the result is a very mildly woody/bitter product. It was traditionally eaten in times of hunger, but is now part of regular Korean cuisine.

But apart from the culture and food and cute kids, it was just a beautiful day so here are a few photos of the scenery.

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Plan to go out of town tomorrow and see if I can top these photos!

Posted by tdeits 18:25 Archived in South Korea Tagged buildings food culture scenery seoul Comments (0)

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