Category Archives: Korean traditions

The world’s biggest pot is in Ulsan


One more of those posts stashed away a long time ago…

The Guinness Book recognised last June the world’s largest earthenware pot in Ulju-gun, Ulsan, South Korea.  It weighs 172 kg and is over 2 metres tall. According to people from Guinness, “the attempt was coordinated in order to bring attention to onggi, a traditional form of Korean earthenware that is made mainly with clay and ash water.  Onggi can be used as everything from utensils to pots and containers for food, water, and other various substances.  The defining feature of onggi is its breathability.  Koreans refer to onggi as the ‘breathing pot’, and with good reason – it is porous and air can readily pass in and out, as opposed to plastic and other artificially-made substances.  The leads to food and beverages that are much tastier and fresher”.

Quite interesting, huh?



Eye candy: Sera’s first birthday


In the very beginning of my Korea Blog collaboration, back when it all happened in my Little Craziness tumblr, I wrote a piece on Koreans first birthdays. I find this celebration quite lovely, especially the ones I see online, that combine traditional aspects and more modern ones. Recently, I spotted this adorable party on Hostess with the Mostess and fell in love with everything about it: the colours, the centrepieces, the girl’s outfit, the cake, the table chock full of Korean candies… What’s not to love about it? 

You can check out more pictures and explanation in the girl’s mamma blog (she’s an event planner and, of course, was in charge of the planning for this party).

pictures: hwtm

A (very) late 2011 recap, part 1: Hangul Day


I had originally thought about publishing this and some other posts about Korean events that happened in 2011 before the year ended, but things were hectic and, well, I lost my flash drive with the cropped pictures. Better late than never, of course, but I feel a bit about being such a mess in the recent times. Anyway, let’s move on!

Small “shrine” to King Sejong

To celebrate Hangul Day in 2011, USP’s group of Korean studies got together with the Korea Foundation and the South Korean consulate to create the exhibition “Hangul, more than an alphabet“. The event took place in one of the university’s libraries and offered visitors information on the origin of Hangul, as well as showcasing some objects with Hangul characters, poems and kids books written by Korean authors and translated into Portuguese (great, but what about a few grown-up books, too?).

Korean kids books translated into Portuguese

The posters on how Hangul works (below) were not completely new to me, since they were the same ones featured in that cultural festival I attended months ago. That wasn’t a problem, though, because, in all honesty, I hadn’t read them before. =p

After going through them, I learnt a few things, like how the Korean language, with its 72 million speakers, is the 14th most spoken language in the world and one of the few to have its own writing system. Other interesting findings include the fact that the vowels were created based on three fundamental elements – sky, earth and man.

Seo Jeong-ju’s Beside a chrysanthemum; part of Yi Sang’s Wings; Kim Chun-su’s Flower

Of course, these facts can probably be found on Wikipedia (which has, apparently, a quite complete page on Hangul), but I do hate using the internet for reading/studying long texts – I get headaches -, so having the chance to check the posters out was quite fortunate.

Facsimile of Hunminjeongeum, the 1446 document that describes the Korean alphabet

But what I found really interesting was something else. Because of the wide range of sounds that the Korean alphabet can represent, it was deemed by linguists the alphabet best fit to render languages that have no written form. And, in fact, something like this was attempted with some of the inhabitants of Bau-Bau, a city located in the Indonesian island of Buton. Since the Roman alphabet cannot represent many of the sounds in the native language of the Cia-Cia tribe, Hangul was suggested as an alternative and teachers were even sent from Korea. Now, apparently the project was discontinued, but you can read more about it here and here.

A couple more pictures I took there:

Random objects embellished with the Korean characters

Suzy Chung on Korean horror @ The Korea Blog


“Have you ever wondered why so many Korean horror movies feature girls with loose long hair in white hanbok? And why most of them are so pale with sorrow? And why so many of them seem to be haunting schools?

Summer is the season for horror. Among many Korean ways to beat the heat, a favorite method is to break out in a cold sweat by scaring oneself silly. As a result, many horror movies are released in the summer and horror specials are broadcast on TV.

So why are long-haired girls in white hanbok the stars of summer horror? Let’s take a look…”

(by Suzy Chung, via Chilled to the bone: Korean ghosts and urban legends | The Korea Blog)

VI Festival of Korean Culture (São Paulo) – part 2


Better late than never, right? After almost one month, the second part of this series is here, yay! I’m not even going to waste time with excuses, so let’s get to the good stuff.

So, quick recap: on Part 1, we took a peek at what was going on the outer part of the event, mainly, since that’s what I did on the first day I went there. And even though I did go inside the cultural center to see the exhibitions then, I ended up not taking a single picture, so that’s what the second day was for. On Sunday, I was all by myself (on the day before, I was accompanied by some lovely folks from my class) so I could wander around more freely and stay as long as I wanted checking things out.

First thing I did was to go photograph the art exhibition, full of pieces made by people from the Korean community here in São Paulo. There was even a few little houses made by kids (see below)! Now, I’m no expert on Korean ceramics (there’s a shocker for you!), so I can’t exactly tell you if the pieces presented are representative of traditional or modern pottery techniques and styles. I mean, I conducted an extremely brief search online, but couldn’t really find looots of example pieces, so I decided to just leave it at that. Ginny, from the Korean Blog has a small article on Korean ceramics that may give one a small insight into the matter.

I have no idea what’s written in these paintings below (I’ve only been studying Korean for six months, after all), but i actually found them interesting. I’ve been on a map kick lately, so all kinds of posters and pictures with maps on it draw my attention.

Kids could have all kinds of fun in a paper folding (종이접기 – is that it really?) workshop. The weekend before that, our teacher had taught us how to make a paper crane, which was pretty cool, but I couldn’t replicate the process right now if my life depended on it. Anyway, I think the room was quite pretty with all these colours and shapes. There’s even a zebra, yay!

The grownups could enjoy a bit of the history of Hangul, the Korean Alphabet in a room designed to showcase that. Besides explaining how it came to be, the posters also dwelt on how to make syllables and on the visual aspects of the characters.

Kimchi-making instructions (below)! I guess I said before that I really didn’t see any of the food stalls in there offering kimchi, but inside the cultural centre there was a special space for it. Since it’s such a characteristic Korean dish, the organizers probably thought they should distinguish it in some way. So there were two big posters explaining how to make it and a tasting space.

There were posters about other traditional dishes, too, and some ladies making this sort of risotto thing that I can’t recall the name. I tried a bit of my friend’s serving and loved it since it was spicy in the right measure (I’m not used to super spicy food, after all).

I was also present to see the choir you see below perform some traditional Korean songs. I mean, I think they’re traditional, but as with everything else, I can’t be that sure. =p Anyway, the ladies appeared to be really happy, which was just lovely. One of them was positively enthusiastic about the whole thing, but I don’t think I captured her energy in a picture, unfortunately!

Oh, I made a short video of their presentation and posted it here.

And that’s it for part 2. Next time around, the K-pop part!

Check out more posts from this collaboration HERE.
Check out the other collaborators’ blogs here.
Check out The Korea Blog!

More lotus lanterns!


More lotus lanterns!Through the link below, you can buy a diy kit to make lotus lanterns like the one above, but i think that, once you have a metal frame and the elctrical parts of the lamp, replicating this wouldn’t be too hard.Now, you’ll be all set for next year’s Festival, right? ;)(via Make a Korea Lotus Lantern Lotus Lamp D.I.Y | eBay)Check out more posts from this collaboration HERE.Check out the other collaborators’ blogs here.Check out The Korea Blog!

Through the link below, you can buy a diy kit to make lotus lanterns like the one above, but i think that, once you have a metal frame and the elctrical parts of the lamp, replicating this wouldn’t be too hard.

Now, you’ll be all set for next year’s Festival, right? 😉

(via Make a Korea Lotus Lantern Lotus Lamp D.I.Y | eBay)

Check out more posts from this collaboration HERE.
Check out the other collaborators’ blogs here.
Check out The Korea Blog!