Cultural Differences between the US and Korea
Since I came to the USA a year ago, I have experienced the customs here. Many customs in the USA are similar to the customs of my country, Korea. However, some differences are surprising, some are embarrassing, and some are just funny. Some of the different customs are related to New Year’s celebrations, dinner customs, and conversation styles. First, New Year’s Day is celebrated differently in Korea and the United States in numerous ways. In the USA, New Year’s Day is on January 1st, every new year. When it becomes December 31 at 12:59:50 p.m., people start to count down for the next year. When it becomes 12:00 a.m., they give each other hugs and kisses, and they enjoy their party. However, Korean has a different event in their country. Korean uses the lunar calendar to mark the New Year. Lunar calendar is a calendar that is based on cycles of the lunar phase, and the first day of a month is the day when an astronomical new moon occurs in a particular time zone. Because Korean New Year’s Day is about one month later than New Year’s Day in the U.S. Second, Korea and the USA have different customs regarding dinner. The formal restaurant dinner here usually has three or four courses including the appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert. When the first course is finished, the next course will be served. The main meal usually includes meat, such as beef, pork or chicken. Every meal is eaten with forks, knifes and spoons. And “Starting with the knife, fork, or spoon that is farthest from your plate, work your way in, using one utensil for each course,” according to an author Linda Stradley.(1) In contrast, in Korea, most Korean food restaurants are all the food is served at one time. The main dish is always rice and soups, and it is served with the several side dishes. The rice should be located on the left side, and the soup has to be placed on the right side. A spoon and chopsticks are used for eating. And according to a...
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