As in many Asian countries, Korea uses both the solar and lunar calendars, and celebrates holidays based on both. The country uses one time zone and is 9 hours ahead of GMT, the same as Japan. Most Koreans work Monday through Friday and then a half day on Saturday mornings. Usual business hours are 9:00-6:00 during the week and 9:00-1:00 on Saturday. During national holidays, government offices and most businesses are closed, although many private store keepers and large department stores may remain open. The major exceptions occur during the 3-day holidays for the Lunar New Year (Seol-nal) and Harvest Moon Festival (Chuseok) when just about everything shuts down except public transportation. (See the Events Calendar section for upcoming holidays and events.)
Although most people prefer Western clothes like suits and jeans, the national costume, hanbok, is worn by many during national holidays. Traditionally, people wore white clothes, reserving colors for the upper class or during festive occassions. Rubber shoes and sandals have been replaced by designer shoes and sneakers; however, even these are removed when entering a house or other area where shoes are not permitted. The Cultural Spotlight area has an in-depth section on Traditional Clothing.
In Korean culture, education is the key to success in life. The school one graduates from can determine whether one will be a success or failure. To many Korean parents, the education of their children outweighs all other considerations, and they will make tremendous sacrifices to let their children get the best education possible.
The Korean education system consists of six years of primary school, three years of middle school, then three years of high school. Those who pass the national exam go on to 4-year colleges or universities. Others go to 2-year junior colleges, while the rest enter the work force. Until recently, most middle and high schools were segregated by sex. However, because of complaints about differences in education levels between the boys and girls schools and socialization problems later in life, most schools have gone co-ed.
After an incident with a Japanese boat in 1872 and increased contact with other countries, the Korean government realized the need for a national symbol. The first flag was created in 1882 and over the years the design has varied. Banned during the Japanese occupation (1910-45), the present flag was created in 1948 for use by the South Korean government. The T'aegukki depicts the balancing philosophies of Yin/Yang and the concept of Ohaengsol (five directions). In the central circle, the red portion represents positive Yang, while the blue portion represents negative Yin. It is an ancient symbol representing balance and harmony. The combination of bars in each corner also symbolizes opposites and balance. The set in the upper left corner symbolizes heaven, spring, east, and gentility. The lower right corner symbolizes the earth, summer, west, and justice. The upper right corner symbolizes the moon, winter, north, and wisdom. The lower left corner symbolizes the sun, autumn, south, and courtesy. Buy online at Flagline.com!
Food and Drink
Rice is the staple of the Korean diet and appears at almost all meals. A typical meal includes rice, some type of soup, sometimes a main dish of meat or pork or poultry, and various side dishes. Kimchi, the most common group of side dishes, includes various vegetables (cabbage, radishes, and various roots) fermented with spices (garlic, red pepper, and ginger). Korea produces several types of grain alcohol, most notablysoju. Nowadays, many people eat more and more Western, Japanese, and Chinese food, with pizza becoming more popular than kimchi among the younger generation.
Over 70% of the land is mountainous with the eastern regions consisting of mainly rugged mountain ranges and deep valleys. Many...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document