Field Work Friday – Korea

This week we had a special guest – a friend of mine who has taken two trips to Korea.

She gave us the scoop about Korean culture.

This is the Korean flag.  Korea is a republic whose government is set up much like ours.  The outfit on the right is a traditional young boy’s outfit, the kind that is now worn for special occasions.  The rest of the time, Koreans wear clothes much like us.

Korean money is fancier than ours and is called the wan.  It is quite pretty – and 1000 wan is approximately equivalent to one dollar.

We saw a picture of a gas station, and the price of gas was shocking – over 33,000 wan per unit!  And we thought we paid a lot for gas!

The coins are fractions of the wan – so the top one is about half a dollar, and they decrease in value fractionally with each coin going down the column.

These are wedding ducks, a gift traditionally given to a newly married couple.  They are displayed inside the home, and each duck represents part of the couple – I think the one on the right is the groom?

When the ducks are positioned facing each other, as they are in the picture above, then the couple has a happy relationship.  When the ducks are positioned facing away from each other, then things are not so happy.  I wouldn’t want to come home and find that my husband’s duck had turned away from me – but maybe it makes it easier to figure out problems somehow!

These are traditional handmade theater masks in miniature – not meant for wearing.  Theatrical productions in traditional costumes with real masks remain very popular.

Pottery and art is very popular.  We looked at this fancy vase – another traditional wedding gift – and a jewelry box that was inlaid with mother-of-pearl.  It must take a long time to learn how to master these trades!

My friend also brought an album with pictures of her travels to Korea.  My Little Man was fascinated with pictures of the ancient palaces.  The artwork on the walls and ceilings is incredible!  The palace guards also made quite a sight in their traditional red dress.

The pictures of traditional furniture were neat, too.  Many people – even in restaurants – still eat at low tables while sitting on the floor, and bedding is often stored in special chambers during the daytime – no ‘beds’ as we know them used.

There were also pictures of street evangelists.  About 1/4 of all Koreans are Christian, and they take their mission to spread the Gospel very seriously.  The largest Christian church in the world is in Seoul, the capital.  Of the remaining Koreans, about half are undeclared, and the other quarter are Buddhists.

She then broke out a box full of wooden blocks with Korean letters, words, and pictures on them.  She found the letters My Little Man needed to spell his name, and with blank paper and crayons we practiced writing the Korean letters (found in the bottom left hand corner of the above blocks).

After coloring a picture of the flag and choosing a blank map to bring home, our time in Korea ended.

As My Big Helper climbed in the car after school, My Little Man started yelling, “Guess what we did today?  We learned about K’rea!  And the people are very nice there and their things are BEAUTIFUL!”

Enough said.  🙂

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