Culture - Korean

WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 37700 [post_author] => 1006 [post_date] => 2015-08-24 09:30:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-08-23 23:30:22 [post_content] =>

Known for its exceptional taste, the assortment of ingredients used, and numerous health benefits, Korean cuisine is enjoying widespread popularity around the world nowadays. More than just taste and nutrition, Korean cuisine is also used to celebrate or acknowledge an occasion.

In the Korean culture, there are ceremonies that are both happy and sober, which mark major occasions in life and are considered important. Celebratory occasions include birth, birthday celebrations and wedding ceremonies. Sorrowful occasions, as we know, include death and funerals held by one's descendants. Not only are these rituals defined by protocol, Korean food culture also features special foods that are prepared to signify well-wishes, fortune, respect, and honour.

Here are 5 Interesting Symbolisms in Korean Food Culture :

1. Seaweed soup during samchil

The 21st day after a baby's birth is called samchil. During samchil, family and friends will visit the parents to celebrate the birth of a newborn and comfort the mother after giving labour. Miyeok-guk (seaweed soup with beef broth) is served to the mother as a comfort food. The mother is not allowed to eat or drink anything cold as it would affect the baby. Seaweed soup has a lot of iron, calcium, and iodine which is known to aid in the recovery after childbirth and in milk production. seaweed soup - 5 Interesting Symbolisms in Korean Food Culture

Image: Ibán used under the Creative Commons Licence

2. Rice Cakes during Baekil

Baekil is an occasion which marks the 100th day after a baby is born, it is symbolic of wholeness and maturity. On this day, rice cakes along with Songpyeon (cresent moon cakes) are shared with one hundred families in order for the baby to be blessed with good health and longevity.

songpeyon - Symbolisms in Korean Food Culture

Image: Republic of Korea used under the Creative Commons Licence

3. Steamed rice cakes during weddings

During Korean wedding ceremonies, a special rice cake known as bongchae-tteok (steamed glutinous rice cake sprinkled with red bean powder) are prepared and shaped in two layers to symbolise a couple. They are decorated with seven jujubes (Korean dates). The red beans are believed to ward off misfortune whereas the seven jujubes to wish the couple fertility and prosperity and to bear seven children.

4. A sumptuous spread for the sixtieth birthday

The sixtieth birthday in Korean is known as Hoegap/hwangap, which means a return to the year one was born. A sumptuous spread is prepared for the sixtieth birthday and high piles of foods are placed on the table, called gobaesang (a table of high piles). This is the most extravagant of Korean table-settings.

5.  Sliced rice cake for the deceased souls

Koreans hold rituals on the anniversary of their ancestor's death, Seollal (Lunar New Year's Day) and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) to express gratitude for their blessings and to pay their respects. On Seollal ( Lunar New Year), tteok-guk (sliced rice cake soup) is prepared, and on Chuseok, taro soup and songpyeon are served to feed the deceased soul and prayers are offered.

tteokguk - Korean Food Culture

Image: Xiaolongimnida Blog used under the Creative Commons Licence

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5 Interesting Symbolisms in Korean Food Culture

Known for its exceptional taste, the assortment of ingredients used, and numerous health benefits, Korean cuisine is enjoying widespread popularity around the world nowadays. More than just taste and nutrition, Korean cuisine is also used to celebrate or acknowledge an occasion.

In the Korean culture, there are ceremonies that are both happy and sober, which mark major occasions in life and are considered important. Celebratory occasions include birth, birthday celebrations and wedding ceremonies. Sorrowful occasions, as we know, include death and funerals held by one’s descendants. Not only are these rituals defined by protocol, Korean food culture also features special foods that are prepared to signify well-wishes, fortune, respect, and honour.

Here are 5 Interesting Symbolisms in Korean Food Culture :

1. Seaweed soup during samchil

The 21st day after a baby’s birth is called samchil. During samchil, family and friends will visit the parents to celebrate the birth of a newborn and comfort the mother after giving labour. Miyeok-guk (seaweed soup with beef broth) is served to the mother as a comfort food. The mother is not allowed to eat or drink anything cold as it would affect the baby. Seaweed soup has a lot of iron, calcium, and iodine which is known to aid in the recovery after childbirth and in milk production.

seaweed soup - 5 Interesting Symbolisms in Korean Food Culture

Image: Ibán used under the Creative Commons Licence

2. Rice Cakes during Baekil

Baekil is an occasion which marks the 100th day after a baby is born, it is symbolic of wholeness and maturity. On this day, rice cakes along with Songpyeon (cresent moon cakes) are shared with one hundred families in order for the baby to be blessed with good health and longevity.

songpeyon - Symbolisms in Korean Food Culture

Image: Republic of Korea used under the Creative Commons Licence

3. Steamed rice cakes during weddings

During Korean wedding ceremonies, a special rice cake known as bongchae-tteok (steamed glutinous rice cake sprinkled with red bean powder) are prepared and shaped in two layers to symbolise a couple. They are decorated with seven jujubes (Korean dates). The red beans are believed to ward off misfortune whereas the seven jujubes to wish the couple fertility and prosperity and to bear seven children.

4. A sumptuous spread for the sixtieth birthday

The sixtieth birthday in Korean is known as Hoegap/hwangap, which means a return to the year one was born. A sumptuous spread is prepared for the sixtieth birthday and high piles of foods are placed on the table, called gobaesang (a table of high piles). This is the most extravagant of Korean table-settings.

5.  Sliced rice cake for the deceased souls

Koreans hold rituals on the anniversary of their ancestor’s death, Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) to express gratitude for their blessings and to pay their respects. On Seollal ( Lunar New Year), tteok-guk (sliced rice cake soup) is prepared, and on Chuseok, taro soup and songpyeon are served to feed the deceased soul and prayers are offered.

tteokguk - Korean Food Culture

Image: Xiaolongimnida Blog used under the Creative Commons Licence

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