Koreans count their age different than other Western countries.
When a baby is born in Korea, she is already one year old because we count the pre-born time(9 months) as 1 year. And when a new year starts, she/he turns TWO years old. Therefore if a baby was born in December, she/he will be two years old in a month in the Korean age, but she is only a ONE month old baby. We call this full age system as 만. We use Korean age in our normal lives, but we use 만 나이 for papers.
I know it is weird age system we have, but they like this system because the age difference is very important to Koreans. If you are older than someone, the young one will use the honorific speech to you and they have to respect you more.
When I go back to Korea, I am older. When I come back to America, I am younger. So I like 만 나이 than 한국 나이 because I don’t want to be old!
만으로 나이(연세)가 어떻게 되세요? How old are you(is she) in the full age system?
저는 올해 한국 나이로 40이에요. I am 40 this year in the Korean age system.
한국 나이가 만 나이보다 많아요. The Korean age system is a lot older than the full age system.
Today I want to talk about if Koreans eat dog meat because I have been asked this question a lot foreign friends. It is a sensitive topic, but I want you to tell the truth.
In the past, Korea was very poor, so a lot of people died from hunger. Dog meat was the easiest and cheapest meat that we could get, so many people ate dog meat. However recently we can get beef and pork very easily, so less people eat dog meat. In addition, more Koreans have pets now, so they consider dogs as their family not food.
But there are some people-mostly old people- still like dog meat. They think it is delicious and good for health. Therefore they eat dog meat or soup on Bok-nal(the hottest day).
image courtesy of http://m.post.naver.com/my.nhn?memberNo=10005291
추석(Chuseok) is one of the most important holidays for Korean along with 설날(Seollal). The word Chuseok means ‘a Fall night’ which expresses ‘A day that has the brightest moon in Fall’. Chuseok is derived from Chinese letters, and the Korean word for Chuseok is 한가위(Han-gahWe). Han-gahwe means ‘The center of the month’ because Han-gahwe is August 15th on the Lunar Calendar. It is similar to Thanksgiving for Koreans.
It is a national holiday which everyone take 3 days off. The holiday starts a day before Han-gahwe and ends a day after Han-gahwe because families have to prepare food for a ceremony in early morning on the holiday.
For food, they make a special rice cake for this holiday which is Songpyoun. Songpyoun is a rice cake that is steamed with pine leaves, and it looks like a half moon. Why does it look like a half moon even thought they celebrate for a full moon? Old Koreans hoped their lives would be filled with happiness like a full moon(보름달) from the half moon after the holiday, not like the full moon becomes smaller after the holiday.
At night, Koreans pray to a full moon for their happiness and health. In the past, women went out with their female family members or neighbors dancing a special dance for Han-gahwe. It is called 강강술래(Gahng Gahng Soollae). Unfortunately we don’t see it often in big cities recently.
If you have Korean friends, tell them “Happy Chuseok!”. 즐거운 추석 보내세요! 즐거운 한가위 보내세요!
Words for this holiday>
보름달 full moon
강강술래 Gahng-Gahng Soollae)
즐거운 추석 보내세요! Happy Chuseok!
즐거운 한가위 보내세요! Happy Han-gahwe!
Koreans eat ‘미역국(seaweed soup)’ on their birthdays. This custom derives from when moms have their babies, they eat 미역국 to supplement iron. They also have some special food for their birthday such as 불고기(Bulgogi), 잡채(Japchae) with a birthday cake for dessert.
Do you know how to sing the birthday song in Korean? Click here to learn the birthday song in Korean.
Koreans love 미역(seaweed), however there is a myth that if you eat 미역국 before a test, you will fail the exam. Why? 미역(seaweed) is very slippery, and there is an adjective for ‘slippery 미끄러지다’ which is the same meaning as ‘fail 시험에 떨어지다’. So when someone asks “또 미역국 먹었어?”, it means “Did you fail the exam again?”
I was the person who believed that myth when I was in middle school. My birthday was always in the middle of mid-term, so I told my mom not to make 미역국 on my birthday. Do I believe it now? I am a grown-up person! 🙂
I love 미역 and 미역국, it is easy to cook and delicious! And don’t get confused 미역 and 김(dried seaweed) which is salty side dish.
카카오톡 (Kakaotalk) is a chatting app that most Koreans use, so Koreans often say “카카오톡 주세요.” (please send me a Kakaotalk message.) Sometimes we also say 카톡 which is a short from for 카카오톡.
You can send messages or pictures and you can even make a free video phone call through 카카오톡.
- 카톡 있어요? Do you have Kakaotalk? (click here to learn 있어요/없어요)
- 카톡 주세요. Please send me a Kakaotalk message.
- 카톡으로 보내 주세요. Please send it through Kakaotalk.
- 카톡으로 얘기할까요? Shall we talk with Kakaotalk? (click here to learn -을까요?)
- 지금 카톡할 수 없어요. I cannot use Kakaotalk now. (click here to learn -을 수 있다/없다)
What is ㅋㅋ in Korean?
It is a chatting word which means “laugh” or “funny”. One of the laughing sounds in Korean is 크크, so we just write that without vowels. There is also ㅎㅎ, which is 하하.
So if you see something funny, you can leave ㅋㅋ or ㅎㅎ.