Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What makes Korean Christmas unique?

Here's the question:
I'm putting together a funny email for my family and was wondering if you knew any unique Christmas traditions that Koreans celebrate. 
That's a pretty general question and I'm sure that whatever I list has been listed millions of times by others. So, I'm going to avoid most of the commercially-imported stuff along with the mandatory Christmas accessory (boyfriend/girlfriend) , Christmas cakes and the gigantic Coca-Cola advertisement that is Gangnam.

I think the most unique part of Korean Christmas is that instead of putting gifts under the tree, many Koreans put gifts next to the heads and/or on the pillows of their sleeping loved ones.  

Anyone care to add something unique to that list?


Kate said...

Today I asked my high-level first-grade class, "What is Christmas?" Sally said, "A fun day in winter." May said, "Yesu-nim's birthday." Most of the kids seemed to agree with Sally.

I don't really have a specific tradition. I just think that it's natural for a country obsessed with lights, sparkly things, pretty food and sing-alongs to be all about some Christmas. ^_^

Chris in South Korea said...

I would simply say that the typical Korean would expect to spend December 25th with their significant other and December 31st with their family.

Unique traditions? You're more likely to find those on a family-to-family basis around the US, Canada, or other countries that have celebrated the holidays for centuries.

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Anonymous said...

I agree with Chris. As a Korean American, we spend Christmases with our family. This is clearly something my parents followed with American tradition. Although they didn't understand the Santa concept in time for me, they figured it out in time for my younger sister.

However, after spending holidays with Koreans in Korea, I found that they spend the day with their significant others. Those that are single- it's a normal day where you pine for a bf/gf, just like the other twelve holidays in Korea that are meant for couples :) Or - those single friends all get together to celebrate as well. Very rarely do I hear anything about family Christmas traditions.

Adelle said...

nice post..!!!!