Journals from Spring and Fall, 2012 South Korea
2012-05-09 Family Weekend: Children’s Day and Parents’ Day
May is a month of many holidays and events in Korea. This past Saturday and Tuesday was Children’s Day and Parents’ Day. I wasn’t actually able to experience Children’s Day because of a retreat I attended (side note: it was phenomenal!!!), but nonetheless heard many of the activities that took place during the weekend. Since the family is very important in Korea, it is a very significant time to show respect to one another. Children’s day is first, falling on the 5th of May, which happened to be a Saturday this year. It is a day to celebrate the youth of the country and to show how much they care for their children and the effort and places that have been able to reach so far. Children receive money from their family members. With that, there are always many children lining the streets and flooding the ice cream shops, shoe stores, electronic stores, and other places for whatever else they had been waiting to get. It is just a mass celebration of the youth with cultural centers having places to dress in the cultural clothing called a hanbok. It is definitely a sight to see, according to my friends who were able to participate in the event. Then after that the children can then return the favor on Parents’ Day (the 8th, a Tuesday this year). In return for the money the children received on Children’s day, children buy flowers for their parents to show their appreciation. Some make dinner, write a card, and spend time with their parents, but others who don’t have the privilege of being close to home celebrate through the phone and sometimes send flowers back to their home town. During the time after Children’s day, many of the street booths are replaced with bouquets and potted plants. Most of them are either all red or have an abundance of red flowers in the display. I found that red is also a special color for Koreans, but not to the extent that the color is represented in China and Japan, since Korea has many royal colors other than red. It's definitely a beautiful time as I hear about all my Korean friends celebrating their parents on Parents’ Day.