In South Korea, girls and boys are considered adults and given the access to the right to marry, vote, and drive once they reach the age of 19. In modern Korea, the coming of age is celebrated in May and teenagers who have or will turn 19 that year receive presents of roses or perfumes.
NSLI-Y students attending Daewon Foreign High School stepped back in time by celebrating their own coming of age at a traditional ceremony held in the school’s district. The students wore the ceremonial hanboks and put their hair up as a symbol of their new adulthood. The ceremony also performed the traditional rituals and provided other cultural activities.
Participating in this ceremony and being given the opportunity to wear Hanbok was a very positive cultural experience for me. Seeing how important it was for the other participating students gave me further insight to how big of a role culture plays in everyone’s lives. At the end of the ceremony, all of the students bowed to the elders and parents. I felt honored to do so and it gave me a surreal feeling to see parents tearing up at the sight of their sons and daughters entering a new phase of their lives. -Amanda, NSLI-Y Korea, Academic Year 2014-2015