[Korean Wave] Seven Interesting Facts About South Korea

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South Korea is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Also known as The Land of the Morning Calm, you'll be surprised with its interesting and quirky facts. Here are some:

There Are Over 200 Different Kinds of Kimchi

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Name all the kinds of kimchi that you know, but there are still some that you don't! Kimchi is a staple in the Korean diet, always expected on the side of every meal. Some of the most popular kinds are paechu kimchi or cabbage kimchi, diced raddish kimchi or kakktugi, cucumber kimchi or o-i kimchi and water kimchi or (moul kimchi). Having over 200 different kinds, you can have a variety taste of kimchi every single day!

Koreans Eat Seaweed Soup On Their Birthdays

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It might sound a little conservative and cheap, but there's a more meaningful reason behind having a seaweed soup when celebrating your birthday the Korean way. The soup is being served during the celebration to remind the celebrant of the pain and sacrifice that his or her mother had to bear during childbirth. 

Sweet Sixteen Is Not So Sweet For Koreans

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Instead of the familiar 'Sweet 16' birthday celebration, Koreans prefer to have a festive celebration as early as their child's first birthday. The celebration is called 'Doljanchi' where the birthday celebrant wears a hanbok and the guests are served with traditional Korean dishes such as seaweed soup, fruits, panjeon and rice cakes. 

Korean University Examination Is Not Just An Ordinary Day

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The Korean University Entrance Exam, known as the 'sooneung' is one of the most awaited special events in South Korea. Koreans make a great investment for their children's schooling and they really look forward to seeing their sons and daughters  achieve not just good but high grades during their senior year.  On the day of Sooneung, friends and family usually gather in front of the school gates and hand the examinees a bunch of sticky candies with great hope that they can stick to the passing score.

Same-Surname Marriage Is Not Allowed

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Now this one sounds odd, but the law against same-surname and family-origin marriage dates back to the Choson Era and was derived from the Confucian principle of 'Purity of Kinship'. Up to this day, this law still exists and is being observed in Korea. The law does not simply refer to the same last name but rather the implicit family background, in an aim to prevent the occurrence of incest.

Koreans Believe That Taking Their Shoes Off Has Health Benefits

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This custom is not just about proper etiquette. Koreans believe that walking barefooted is beneficial to one's health as it allows your pressure points to be stimulated, just like in reflexology. 

Korean Homes Are A Lot Warmer Than Any Other Homes

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Korean homes are one of the efficiently constructed houses in the world. They are designed with an under floor heating system which uses direct heat transfer from wood smoke to the underside of a think masonry floor. This heating system has served Korean homes in two ways: cooking and keeping the family warm. 

Interesting, right? I believe you had your 'wow' moments as you get to know these amazing facts.

Until next time,

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