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( Learn korean ) Korean Musical Instruments

12 Feb

The Korean people with excellent cultural heritage have created various kinds of musical instruments. The musical instruments recorded in the chronicles and documents from the primitive age up to now amount to 100 in its kinds.

Introduced here are some representative instruments:



Kayagum (Fillip instrument) is one of the most representative national instruments of Korea.

It was invented by Uruk 1,400 years ago (6th century, AD). He was born in the Kaya Era and distinguished himself as a talented musician and a famous composer.

Above all, he was an expert Kayagum player and devoted all his life to the development of music in Korea through musical composition and the training of Kayagum players, and made efforts to further develop it as a music instrument.

Kayagum is often compared with Japanese Koto, but it is quite different from Koto in the following points;

Firstly, during play the head of Kayagum should be placed on the lap of its player and its tail on the floor.

Secondly, the way of strumming to strings is almost the same as with Japanese Koto. But Koto is played with artificial nails, and Kayagum is played with bare fingers.

So it can fully express emotions, and the tone is very close to human voice. The sound is so delicate and soft that it can express well the character of Korean music.

Developed by the disciples of inventor Uruk, Kayagum music took further strides in the 19th century.

Kim Chang Jo, well known Kayagum player and composer, originated a Kayagum concerto, Kayagum Sanjo.

Kayagum Sanjo influenced Choktae (Korean flute), Tanso (Korean recorder), Komungo (string harp), and their respective Sanjo were created, making a great contribution to the development of traditional Korean music.

The strings of Kayagum were increased to 19 or 21 from the original 12 strings as a result of several reforms.

Moreover, it made Kayagum express any complicated sound through the introduction of various styles of rendition such as Tremolo and Arpeggio, in addition to the former technique of Rohyon (to produce a variety of sound by pressing strings by the left palm.)

There are various way of playing Kayagum including solo, duet, trio.

Besides, single-while playing Kayagum by a group of 12 women started in the difficult days of the Korean War (1950-53), a vocal solo and a group of women who sing while playing Kayagum, and so fourth.

In the course of its development, grand-Kayagum, an octave lower than Kayagum, was invented, which plays an active part as a low sound string instrument.

Silla-gum, which is preserved in Nara, Japan, was originally Kayagum. But it is shaped a little different from what it is.

Apart from the body, Yang Gak or a sheep’s horn is attached to the tail, and the ends of strings are fixed there.

The name of Silla-gum derives from the historical fact that the instrument was brought to Japan after Silla’s conquest of Kaya.

The traditional Kayagum is one of the most cherished and loved national instruments of Korea.



Yanggum is a percussion string instrument which is sounded by Chae (bamboo-made, thin plectra).

The name Yanggum means the Western harp. This kind of instruments are wide spread in the world as traditional national instruments, and were introduced into the professional music of circles of Korea in the 18th century.

Yanggum was also introduced into Japan at the end of Edo period, but it didn’t see any further progress.

Most traditional string instrument of Korea use silk strings, but it uses steel strings. So it is also called Chol Sa Gum (Chol means iron; Sa means string; Gum means harp.)

Yanggum may be called a forerunner of the present-day piano. In the former, parallel strings are strung by two small plectra, while the latter has a keyboard of which the keys operates on the hammers to strike the strings.

In the early days, Yanggum had 14 major keys (1 major key has 4 strings), but the sound range now increased to 25 or 26 major keys.

In addition, it can play all the 12 tones by moving the 4 bridges freely. Yanggum is played in a unique style of rendition.

Firstly, it can play rhythmical, strained composition easily. Secondly, it is very effective for such renditions as tremolo and arpeggio and the power of rendition is rich enough to play altered chord in a concert.

Recently it has been equipped with a pedal (sound buffer device) as well, as a result of repeated improvements.

Mainly, for the purpose of rendition in concerts, Yanggum has been developed into a grand-Yanggum. This grand Yanggum is the same as respects in the body, strings, and spaces between strings.

The grand-Yanggum is for low bass. It was not until the 18th century that Yanggum was imported into Korea by Hong Dae Yong who was known as a member of the Silla school of practical learning.

Yanggum has a very soft and clear in sound, and may be called a versatile instruments.

Today Yanggum is widely played in solo, duet, and in orchestras because of its great compass and penetrating sound.



Tanso is made up of 2 words. Tan means short and so is a generic term for wind instruments.

Tanso is a most popular Korean wind instrument together with other so, Tongso (Korean Flute).

Formerly, it was made of bamboo, but now it is made of synthetic resin as a result of several innovations.

The sound is clear and beautiful with its emotional, penetrating timbre. The sound is wide and soft in the law range; bright and beautiful in the mid-range; penetrating in the high range.

Tanso came to be played after the middle of the 15th century, and it was especially favored by woodcutters for this clear sound.

Originally, it had 4 holes in the front, and one hole in the back, and rendition was confined to heptachord compositions.

Therefore, in the Li dynasty, Tanso was played in combination with several Tansoes with a different pitch, according to musical compositions.

With not only 3 holes in the front body, but also a half tome device and a key for correct sound added, it came to be able to play any musical compositions.

Tanso is a basic instrument for the high range in the composition of traditional wind and string instruments, and is mostly used to play melodies in rendition.

It permits various ways of rendition ranging from trill, producing neighboring sounds alternately in succession, adding grace, richness and brightness to the melodies played by other instrument, giving unique sound to traditional wind and string instrument.

Tanso is played in solos, duets, as an accompaniment to vocal performances and orchestras.

The treble Tanso is made to increase the sound range of Tanso and is somewhat smaller and one octave higher than Tanso.



In Korean version, a recorder is called So among no-reed instruments of the wood wind section while a flute called Cho.

Choktae (representative Korean flute) has an embouchure, 6 holes for sound and one more holes as a half tone device.

There are 3 kinds of Choktae — Tae Ham (big flute), Chung Ham (middle flute) and So Ham (small flute).

All these three kinds have been known as Sam Chuk (three wind instruments of bamboo) and are specially cherished by Korean people.

Choktae is played in the following way; its head is put to the mouth of the player parallel; and air inbreathed into the embouchure; fingering on the holes involving pitch and timbre fluctuations, but most notable is the rendition of Rongum.

Rongum means a rendition with the simultaneous use of the head and shoulders to give traditional color to music.

Choktae made its debut in May 682, according to a record. A legendary episode is told of debut in the world;

Once upon a time a tiny island suddenly appeared in the East Sea of Korea and strange enough, it was shaped like a human head.

One day, a bamboo tree began to grow there and branched off into two in the daytime and united at night.

The king of the country hearing of this, thought it was a sign of good fortune and sent a messenger to get the bamboo to make Choktae.

When a player blew Choktae, the tune was marvelous; ranging waves were calmed down, storms were tamed; rain fell when it was too dry; enemies were routed in battle.

So in the 7th century, it was called Man Pa Shokcho, a treasure to protect the country from danger and sea disasters, and was preserved in a repository under the care of the country.

In the Li dynasty period, Kim Hong Do painted Mu Ak To (a picture of dance and music). In the painting, a concert was drawn with Choktae as the center there.

With a wide sound range, Choktae is known for its conspicuous traditional color.

Most beautiful is its timbre in the middle and high ranges. The low pitch is deep and harmonious, while its high pitch is strong and penetrating.

Choktae is usually made of wood or bamboo elements. It is usually 3cm in diameter, and 70cm in length. The length is in proportion to its thickness.

Hae Gum:-


Haegum is a percussive bow string instrument which is very popular in Korea today.

Hae Gum resembled Chinese Ho Gung in its structure and rendition, but we can find its originality in our traditional Korean climate.

First of all, Hae Gum can be compared to the medieval musical instrument called Fugin, which had been in Korea since before the Christian era, and became an indispensable musical instrument in both court and popular music circles, according to records.

In those days, Song Hyon and other musician wrote Ak Hak Kye Nom (9 vols.) to systematize and typify traditional Korean music, in which they explained the manufacturing process, rendition, and tuning Hae Gum with some illustrations.

Hae Gum is made up of 2 strings and played by a bow with the instrument placed on the player’s knee.

The bow has a string of horse tail hair and is held by the right hand. So, Hae Gum is called the two string harp.

Moreover, it is called Kang Kang I, so named after the peculiar sound from the resonance drum. It sounds like nasal human voice.

Hae Gum has gone through several improvements to remove its nasal sound, so that the strings are now increased to four from two and the fixed strings placed outside.

As improvements were made. rendition has been also studied. Excellent functions like trill, pizzicato in violin rendition have been added to its original form of rendition which the player places the instrument on his knee and springs against.

As a result, it is now capable of a variety of musical expressions, including this rich timbre of traditional Korean music and delicate expressions like Rong Um.

There are a great many concerto compositions for Hae Gum, like Hae Gum Sanjo, in addition to folk song compositions, and many excellent Hae Gum players have been produced since old days.

Ari-rang and Pibada Song played by Hae Gum together with other musical instruments are especially popular today.

There are several kinds of Hae Gum, and actually Hae Gum now in popular use in So Hae Gum (small Hae Gum).

In the DPRK, great efforts were made after the liberation to develop traditional orchestra music in the process of promoting duets and trios of traditional musical instruments.

In this process, Chung (middle) Hae Gum for middle pitch, Cho (low) Hae Gum for low pitch, and Tae (grand) Hae Gum for low bass in string instruments are invented.



Piri and Senap are well-known double reed-wood wind instruments among traditional Korean musical instruments.

Senap distinguished itself from the other instruments in its volume. Senap is also called Tae Pyong So or Nal Ra Ri.

Nal Ra Ri, another name of Senap, is named after its sound, and the name is more popular among the public.

Senap came to be popular among the people around the 13th century, according to records.

There are following passage on Senap in An Authentic Record of King Tae Jo : … One of them often played so (generic term for wind instruments), an instrument called Tae Pyong So. Moreover, Chong Dong Mu, famous poet mentions this instrument in one of his poems.

Senap, is generally a wind instrument with a copper-made trumpet attached to the wooden tube.

Senap was originally used by military bands, and by and by spread to the public.

As it was widely spread, its cheerful and optimistic sound was introduced into Nong Ak (farmer?s music) and become an indispensable sole melodic instrument. Nong Ak is a kind of music which is played in festivals to celebrate the year’s good harvest, and to express thanks to farmers’ labor after autumn harvest.

Nong Ak bands, with Senap in the ban of percussive traditional musical instruments such as Megu, Kenggari, and Changgo, gather from villagers to celebrate a good harvest.

Old farmers say that the timbre of Senap told them about the result of the year’s harvest.

If the timbre was very cheerful and colorful, they would have a good harvest, and a bad harvest if the timber sounded sorrowful.

Senap is characterized by its large sound volume and its tone color, so it is played effectively in solo or ensemble.

The latter part of the orchestra Chong San-ri Always Enjoy Bumper Crop gives full play to this instrument.

It is especially effective in F major key and D minor key. Chang (long) Se Senap was developed from Senap with its won unique features retained.

A reed was added for a correct half-tone and, the tube lengthened, and the trumpet made smaller.

As a result, its sound range became wider and the timber softer than before to produce a rich emotional timbre.

It came to be able to play appealing musical compositions for festive occasions effectively with its rich power of expression.



Among double-reed recorders in the traditional Korean musical instruments, the most popular brass wind instrument is Senap and Piri in the wood wind section.

According to records, Piri came into being earlier than Senap, and was especially loved by Korean people from before the Christian era.

Piri is the generic term of recorders and flutes, that is, of those which are composed of a bamboo bar (synthetic resin or other materials) with some holes, which is sounded by the player’s breath, and became favorite instruments of the Korean people.

Piri has several different kinds of from the beginning and most representative among them are Hyang Piri, Se Piri, Tang Piri.

Hyang Piri, Se (thin) Piri and Tang (Chinese) Piri are very similar to each other in appearance and the principle of sounding.

They have 7 holes in front and one hole in the back side. Musical intervals or sound like Ronum (traditional Korean rendition) can be adjusted by the way the reed is held in the mouth or by the tongue.

Of them, Hyang Piri produces very sharp sound, and very effective for clear melodies in concert.

Se Piri is the most representative instrument of the three kinds of Piris, and a little smaller and thinner than Hyang Piri.

Se Piri ranks first in its power of expression compared with their traditional instruments. Moreover the timbre is close to human voice (rather man’s voice), and is so attractive to people’s mind.

While, Tang Piri was named after its origin, Tang dynasty China distinguish itself from the other Piris as Hyang Piri and Se Piri.

It is almost the same as the two other Piris, in appearance as well as rendition, but is a bit thicker than the other two Piris.

According to records, 20 pieces of Tang Piri were introduced into Korea in June 1, 114.

Piri is played widely not only in sole but also in duet and concert with other string instruments and as accompaniment to folk songs because it is easy to adjust its volume, and can be played easily in harmony with other instruments.

After the liberation of Korea from Japan, Piri has undergone several reforms like other traditional instruments, and Small Piri, Middle Piri, Big Piri and Law Range Piri has been newly added to its original form.

Small Piri and Middle are often played in solo for folk songs and for dances.

Tae (big) Piri is played mainly in concert. These Piris is played mainly in concert. These Piris that have gone through several reforms distinguished themselves from other instruments by their diverse ad unique ways of expression.


( Learn korean ) informations about korea

8 Feb



Korea lies in the northeastern part of the Asian continent. It is located between 33 degrees and 43 degrees in Northern Latitude, and 124 degrees and 132 degrees in Eastern Longitude. China, Russia and Japan are adjacent to Korea. Local time is nine hours ahead of GMT.



Korea’s climate is regarded as a continental climate from a temperate standpoint and a monsoon climate from a precipitation standpoint. The climate of Korea is characterized by four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.

  • Spring of Korea
    Spring lasts from late March to May and is warm. Various flowers, including the picturesque cherry blossom, cover the nation’s mountains and fields during this time.

  • Summer of Korea
    Summer lasts from June to early September. It is a hot and humid time of the year.

  • Autumn of Korea
    Autumn lasts from September to November, and produces mild weather. It is the best season for visiting Korea.

  • Winter of Korea
    Winter lasts from December to mid-March. It can be bitterly cold during this time due to the influx of cold Siberian air. Heavy snow in the northern and eastern parts of Korea makes favorable skiing conditions.




    The Korea Language: Hangeul
    Hangeul was invented in 1443, during the reign of King Sejong. It is composed of 10 vowels and 14 consonants. Hangeul has 11 compound vowels, 5 glottal sounds. The chart below represents the 24 Hangeul letters and their romanized equivalents. ‘The Hunminjeongeum,’ a historical document which provides instructions to educate people using Hangeul, is registered with UNESCO.
    UNESCO awards a ‘King Sejong Literacy Prize,’ every year in memory of the inventor of Hangeul.

    Hangeul written in syllabic units made up of two, three, or four letters



    The Prehistoric Age
    Archaeological findings have indicated that the first settlements on the Korean Peninsula occurred 700,000 years agoGo-Joseon (2333 – 108 B.C)
    According to legend, the mythical figure Dan-gun founded Go-Joseon, the first Korean Kingdom, in 2333 B.C. Subsequently, several tribes moved from the southern part of Manchuria to the Korean Peninsula.

    The Three Kingdoms Period (57 B.C. – A.D. 676)
    The three kingdoms, Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, were established in the 1st century A.D. During this period, the kingdom’s political systems, religions (Buddhism and Confucianism), and cultures developed.

    The Unified Silla Kingdom (676 – 935)
    The Unified Silla Kingdom promoted the development of culture and arts, and the popularity of Buddhism reached its peak during this period. The Unified Silla Kingdom declined because of contention for supremacy among the noble classes, and was annexed by Goryeo in 935.

    The Goryeo Dynasty (918 – 1392)
    The Goryeo Dynasty was established in 918. Buddhism became the state religion during this time and greatly influenced politics and culture. Famous items produced during this time include Goryeo celadon and the Tripitaka Koreana. During the Goryeo Dynasty, Jikji, the world’s oldest movable metal type was published. It was invented 78 years before the German movable metal type created by Gutenburg. The Goryeo Dynasty’s strength decreased gradually in the latter half of the 14th century.

    The Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1910)
    The Joseon Dynasty was formed at the end of the 14th century. Confucianism became the state ideology and exerted a massive influence over the whole of society. The Joseon Dynasty produced Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, which was invented in 1443, during the reign of King Sejong. The dynasty’s power declined sharply later because of foreign invasions, beginning with the Japanese invasion of 1592.

    The Japanese Colonial Period (1910 – 1945)
    In 1876, the Joseon Dynasty was forced to adopt an open-door policy regarding Japan. The Japanese annexation of Korea concluded in 1910, and Korean people had to accept Japanese colonial rule until the surrender of Japan, which ended World War II.

    The Republic of Korea (1945 – Present)
    In 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies and withdrew from the Korean Peninsula. The Korean Peninsula was then divided into two zones, South and North Korea. The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950 and fighting ended when an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. In 2000, an historic summit took place between South and North Korea in Pyeongyang, the capital of North Korea.



    Tradition Art

    Traditional Dance
    Korea’s traditional dance, like its music, can be classified into either court dances or folk dances. The slow, gracious movements of the court dances reflect the beauty of moderation and the subdued emotions formed as a result of the strong influence of Confucian philosophy. In contrast, the folk dances, mirroring the life, work and religion of common people, are exciting and romantic, and aptly portray the free and spontaneous emotions of the Korean people. Court dances are called ‘jeongjae,’ and include hwagwanmu (a flower crown dance), geommu (a sword dance), cheoyongmu, mugo, suyeonjang and gainjeonmokdan. Folk dances include talchum (a mask dance), seungmu (a monk dance) and salpuri.

    Traditional Music
    Traditional music can be divided into two types: jeongak, or the music of the royal family and the upper classes, and minsogak, or folk music. Jeongak has a slow, solemn and complicated melody, while minsogak is fast and vigorous. Jeongak is divided into two types: yeomillak and sujecheon. Minsogak is also divided into two types: seongak (vocal music), which includes pansori, minyo and gagok , and giak (instrumental music), which includes the sanjo and samullori styles. The first noteworthy characteristic of Korean court music is its leisurely tempo. As a result, the mood of this music is meditative and reposeful.

    Traditional Paintings
    From the murals of ancient tombs to the paintings of the Joseon Dynasty (1392 ~ 1910), there are a number of indigenous Korean styles. Korean artists have an inclination toward naturalism, in which subjects such as landscapes, flowers or birds are rendered in ink and colored pigments on mulberry paper or silk. In the middle Joseon Dynasty, noble artists established new style in Korean painting. Folk Paintings, which described the joys and sorrows of people’s lives, became popular.



(Learn Korean) Life In Korea

7 Feb


Season & Temperature

Korea lies in the temperate zone and has four distinct seasons. Monsoon rains usually begin around the end of June and last till mid-to-late July.
  • Spring: March ~ May (average temp.: 16 ~ 20°C)
  • Summer: June ~ August (average temp.: 25~30°C)
  • Fall: September ~ November (average temp.: 15~18°C)
  • Winter: December ~ February (average temp.: -5~7°C)



Features and Tips for Korean Food

  • One of the main features of Korean food is various seasonings or spices, including garlic, green onions, red chili pepper powder, soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, vinegar, ginger and sesame seeds. Garlic and chili peppers are the most popular spices used by Korean cooks. A classic example of spicy Korean food which heavily uses these ingredients is the definitive Korean dish, kimchi.
  • Korean cuisine is naturally low in fat and high in fiber. Many special dishes incorporate herbal and medicinal ingredients that are beneficial to your health.
  • Once you find yourself in a Korean restaurant, don’t be afraid to mix and share. When eating Korean food, do as Koreans do. Try mixing everything together in your bowl of bibimbap, dip your spoon into the bowl of stew in the middle of the table, and share side dishes with everyone at the table. Through this culinary adventure you will enjoy the full blend of flavors, but you will be also able to fully experience the community of every Korean meal. Bonding! It is the Korean style.
  • Koreans use spoons and chopsticks for eating meals. The spoon is used for rice, soup, stews and any other juice or liquid in the dishes, while chopsticks are used for all sorts of side dishes and most solid foods. Chopsticks are used in many Asian countries but the shapes and materials differ from one country to another. The Chinese mostly use long chopsticks made of bamboo while the Japanese use shorter and thinner wooden chopsticks. Koreans, on the other hand, use metal or silver chopsticks of medium length.

Basic Korean Food

Cooked Rice (bap)

  • Rice is the foundation of a Korean meal. In Korean, the expression eating rice means to have a meal. Bap refers to cooked rice; there is a separate word for uncooked rice. Koreans enjoy several varieties of cooked rice, such as rice cooked with barley, beans, red beans, millet and other grains

Soups (guk or tang)

  • Soups incorporate a wide variety of ingredients, such as vegetables, fish, seafood and meats. Soup served with rice is the basis of the Korean meal. The soup and rice are usually separate, but some thick meat soups are served with the rice in them. In Korean, soups are called guk or tang. The names of Korean soups vary according to the main ingredients used (meat, vegetable, fish, etc.) and the seasoning for the broth (soy sauce, red chili pepper paste, soybean paste, etc.).

Stews (jjigae)

  • Korean stews resemble thick soups with meat, vegetables, or seafood and are seasoned with soy sauce, soybean paste (doenjang), red chili pepper paste, or pickled shrimp sauce. A bowl of stew or soup, accompanied by a bowl of rice, is the basis for every Korean meal. Unlike soups, a wide variety of ingredients are usually added to a stew. The most common stews are kimchi stew, soybean paste (doenjang) stew and spicy soft dubu stew.

Recommended Korean Cuisine

Bulgogi, bibimbab, samgyetang, japchae, samgyepsal, guksu, etc.

Drinking Water in Korea

In general, Koreans do boil tab water with roasted barley or corn. But it is safe to drink tab water without boiling one day after you pour water from the tab into a bottle. Or you can conveniently purchase spring water at supermarkets, convenient stores, department stores and big shopping malls.

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(Learn Korean) Labor Love and Go to Making Songpyeon

6 Feb

Labor Love and Go to Making Songpyeon

During Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day), the years harvested grains and fruits accentuate the flavor of some Korean food. Although there are many tasty treats or dishes during the harvest season, the one that stands out above all else is songpyeon, traditional Chuseok rice cakes. You’d be surprised to find that there are many different types of songpyeon. It’s considered quite special, considering the amount of work that goes into making songpyeon. The half-moon shaped rice cakes are made by kneading rice flour using hot water and mung beans, and green soybeans and sesame are used as ingredients for the filling. Songpyeon is then steamed in a layer of pine needles, leaving a pattern on the finished songpyeon, along with an appetizing scent.

As mentioned before, there are many different types of songpyeon such as oryeo songpyeon made of new rice, nobi songpyeon made of ramie leaves, acorn songpyeon, clam songpeyon, pumpkin songpyeon, potato songpyeon, flower songpyeon, arrowroot songpyeon and sagebrush songpyeon, among many others.

Songpyeon that are usually eaten during Chuseok and made with new or this current year’s crop of rice are called oryeo songpyeon. In preparation, pine needles are picked and cleaned a few days prior to Chuseok. After all the necessary steps, rice cakes that have been filled and prepared are steamed in an earthenware steamer. The finished product will have a faint but fragrant scent, along with a deliciously chewy texture that makes for a mixture of flavors and sublime tastes.

Acorn songpyeon contains the true flavor of the Gangwon-do region. Traditionally, people from the mountainous regions of Gangwon-do stopped eating the acorn because of its bitter taste and, after using a grinding stone to make the starch, small leaves of an oak tree, along with rice flour, were mixed and used as fillings. They also mixed the filling or stuffing with rice cake and steamed it.

For clam songpyeon, while not much different from the traditional songpyeon, the rice cake dough is made into small white shapes of short-necked clams. Residents of the Pyeongan-do region are known to enjoy this delicacy.

Pumpkin songpyeon is made with pumpkins harvested during the autumn season. Pumpkins are sliced, dried and ground into powder. Then, the pumpkin powder is mixed with rice powder and steamed chestnuts or roasted sesame seeds to make the filling, and then steamed. Pumpkin songpyeon is sweet and tasty but also visually appealing, since the bright yellow color of the pumpkin shows through the semi-translucent steamed songpyeon. Flower songpyeon is made with omija (or the dried red fruit of Maximowiczia typica), gardenia seeds, pine endodermis and mugwort (or Artemisia), and therefore has a variety of flavors and colors. Flower songpyeon are known to be made with five cardinal colors and also have decorations made with various colored dough. Names of these songpyeon vary according to their ingredients. Flower songpyeon is classified along with other songpyeon made with rice powder, however. It’s unique in a way because after the rice powder is kneaded into a dough and flattened, a variety of ingredients are stuffed into the flat half-moon shaped dough, and since the shape of the finished songpyeon is the same as your standard half-moon shaped songpyeon, it’s classified as such.

Songpyeon are tasty treats usually enjoyed during Chuseok, and there are reasons for this. Songpyeon are stuffed with ingredients made from red beans and other kinds of beans, and are meant to symbolize a wish fulfillment of one’s knowledge or studies. The five cardinal colored songpyeon are supposed to represent vitality or energy, and the five basic elements that make up our universe. Omija is used to make the color red, gardenia seeds for yellow, Artemisia for green and pine endodermis for brown. Furthermore, maehwa songpyeon, which are made without fillings, are supposed to signify the desire for knowledge, as well as a wish for an exemplary attitude and outlook on life.

Koreans have a tradition of gathering together to enjoy meals and spend some quality time together during the harvest moon festival when the full moon is at its brightest and highest point. Its also a time to be thankful for the abundance of the seasons harvest.

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(Learn Korean) Traditional Men’s Clothing

31 Jan

Men’s Clothing

Cheogori and Paji

Men’s cheogori were generally longer than their women’s counterparts, reaching down to the waist or even lower. Like the women’s version, they are tied across the chest in front.

The earliest versions of the paji had narrow legs to facilitate horseback riding and hunting. However, a more agrarian society dictated wider legs to facilitate squatting in the fields. The baggier pants are also more comfortable for sitting on floors than narrower pants.


The dop’o was a scholar’s overcoat used from the middle of the Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910), although commoners could also wear it for family rites or other special occassions. It was worn over other articles of clothing.


This style of clothing was worn by scholars during the Koryo (918-1392) and Chosun (1392-1910) periods. Hak means “study” in Korean, and the style symbolizes a sublime, noble mind.


These clothes were worn by scholars during their free time. The name came from the feeling that people had when looking at the clothes. “Shim” means to ponder or contemplate. Similar to hakch’angui, shimui represents a more passive state than actively studying.

Teol Magoja

The magoja was originally Manchurian clothing. It became popular in Korea after Deawongun, one of the most famous political figures of the late Chosun dynasty, returned from seclusion in Manchuria wearing the clothing. It was used to keep the body warm and was considered a luxury.

This robe-like clothing first appeared during the Koryo period (918-1392) and was worn by low-level government officials. From the Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910), the clothes were also worn by commoners.

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(Learn Korean) Traditional Korean Clothing

30 Jan

Traditional Korean Clothing

Traditional Korean clothing has its roots extending back at least as far as the Three Kingdoms Period (57 B.C. – 668 A.D.), as evidenced by wall paintings in tombs dating from this period. The Korean hanbok represents one of the most visable aspects of Korean culture.

The top part called a jeogori is blouse-like with long sleeves with the men’s version being longer, stretching down to the waist. Women wear skirts (chima) while men wear baggy pants (paji). Commoners wore white, except during festivals and special occassions such as weddings. Clothes for the upper classes were made of bright colors and indicated the wearer’s social status. Various accessories such as foot gear, jewelry, and headdresses or hair pins completed the outfit.

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Add : lily

(Learn Korean) Makgeoli and Insa-dong Makgeoli Festival

28 Jan

Makgeoli and Insa-dong Makgeoli Festival

The Makgeoli festival is held every year in Insa-dong under the sponsorship of the Seoul Rice Wine Manufacturing Association, a company founded by makgeoli manufacturing companies in Seoul by merging them into one. Makgeoli, meaning roughly filtered wine, is also called takju, meaning cloudy wine, because it is opaque. Makgeoli was once the most popular alcoholic beverage in Korea – it accounted for 70 percent of alcohol consumption in the 1970s. With the urbanization and Westernization, however, its consumption has fallen to 3-4 percent now and beer has taken over its place.

Makgeoli is also referred to as nongju (literally meaning “farm liquor” in Korean) as it is popular with farmers. It usually has an alcohol content of around 6 percent, which means that one bowl is enough to have an effect. Farmers drink makgeoli when they take a break because they say it helps them work without feeling tired. In a big city such as Seoul, makgeoli is no longer consumed for that purpose.

One of the places where makgeoli is sold most in Seoul is the entrance to a mountain trail. Some people climb the mountain with a bottle of makgeoli in their backpacks to drink at the summit, while others enjoy it served with tofu when they climb down. They say there is nothing like makgeoli to satiate hunger and thirst. According to them the best way to appreciate makgeoli is to first climb a mountain.

Source :

Cr : Heo Shi-Myung

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28 Jan

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