새해 복 많이 받으세요, Happy Lunar New Year everyone!!! In Korea, 설날 (Seol-nal) marks the first day of the new year on the lunar calendar and is one of the most important holidays of the year. Being a family holiday, most people venture out to the countryside to spend this holiday gathered at the homes of their grandparents, but lucky for me my boyfriend’s grandmother lives in Seoul. Overall, it’s been a wonderful holiday filled with good conversation and delicious food. I hope yours has been equally “filling.”
In a conversation with my boyfriend’s father over dinner, we happened to stumble onto the topic of 한복 (hanbok), it being 설날 and all. He gave me a bit of a brief history lesson that I found interesting, so I thought I’d share it with you along with some pictures from a photoshoot I did a few months back.
During ancient times commoners typically wore 한복 made of bleached hemp and cotton in pale or bland colors such as white, black, green, pink, etc. This particular blend of fabric made the 한복 light and breathable especially during summer time, despite the amount of layers worn. Although my boyfriend disagreed, his father and I went on about how comfortable and easy they are to wear and with the exception of bathroom accessibility they are also very convenient. Apparently he liked them so much that he wore them during the summer time when he was an undergrad at his university. No this this is not the norm, but he is a very proud Korean and it was a very funny visual (lol!). Anyhow, Korean Laws and of course financial situations prevented them from wearing vivid colors and rich fabrics. Finally during the 조선 (Joseon) Dynasty (1392-1910), the Queen declared that a commoner should be allowed to look like a princess at least one in her life; on her wedding day. From then on, all Koreans wore the elaborate 한복 and accessories similar to that of royalty and royal officials; a tradition that is still in practice to this day. I have to say, the value of tradition is something I truly admire about the Korean culture