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[24 Oct 2008 | 5 Comments | ]

Bong Seon Hwa: A traditional Korean custom for your nails
Story by Sherrin Hibbard | Photos by Alison Crump
Recently, you may have noticed that a lot of women, and maybe some of your students, have orange coloured fingertips and nails. No, they are not nicotine stains! This is the time of year, after the rains, when women and children dye their nails with the bong seon hwa plant.
Spelled “bong seon hwa” (봉 선 화), traditionally dyed nails are considered to be very beautiful and it is said that if your nails …

Jeju & Korean Culture, Things to Do »

[27 Sep 2008 | No Comment | ]

It is a woman. It can swim and dive very well under the sea. It catches shells, seaweed, and octopi. What is it? You may be thinking a mermaid, but, from the perspective of a Jejuite, it is actually a haenyeo.
Haenyeo is a word that literally means “sea women”. These women dive to catch turban shells, ear shells, and other marine goodies without the aid of underwater breathing apparatuses. They have a very unique job that is native only to Korea and some regions of Japan, though haenyeo originate …

Jeju & Korean Culture »

[20 Sep 2008 | No Comment | ]

Every year, Chuseok, which falls on August 15th of the lunar calendar, is celebrated by families all over Korea. Family members return to their home-towns to be with family, causing huge traffic jams and resulting in trains, planes and buses being booked up months in advance. While many westerners refer to Chuseok as “a Korean Thanksgiving” or “kind of like our Christmas”, few non-Koreans really know what it’s all about. So, if you’re curious to find out what all the fuss is about, read on.
At Chuseok, families gather together …

Jeju & Korean Culture, Things to Do, Things to See »

[13 Sep 2008 | One Comment | ]

In 1270, Kim Tong-jeong’s Sambyeolcho army landed in Jeju. It was a motley assortment of Korean freedom fighters and liberated Mongolian Prisoners of War who had continued to fight Mongolia despite orders from the Goryeo court in Seoul to lay down their weapons. In pursuit were the Mongolian army and their new Goryeo allies, who had assembled a force of 10,000 men to hunt down and destroy them. With the help of local residents, Kim overtook Jeju’s indigenous army and erected a fortress near Halla Mountain. They held Jeju …