Hello friends, 안녕하세요 친구 annyeonghaseyo chingu!
I wanted to share a special day in South Korea that celebrates children in the best way possible-Children's Day! Children's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, but there are two countries that celebrate it on May 5th: Korea and Japan. That's where I first learned about it myself. Remember my friends Yoshiko and Akira that I met last year when I visited Japan? They told me they have a good friend in South Korea that told them about Children's Day and all the great things kids get to do with their families all day long-like visit amusement parks, movies, parks, zoos! That sounded like such a fun time, so I had to see what it was like in person. Plus, I hadn't had the chance to explore South Korea yet, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to visit to learn more and celebrate this special day.
As I shared in my book review blogs, South Korea, also known as the Republic of Korea is a small country next to Japan located on the easternmost part of the continent of Asia. Korea is a peninsula-that's a piece of land that is almost entirely surrounded by water, but connected to the mainland on one side. It is 750 miles long (1,200 kilometer long) or the size of The Alps-one of the greatest mountain ranges of Europe that crosses 8 countries! Korea is also surrounded by about 3,000 volcanic islands. Wow! (Photo of map on the left by Map_korea_without_labels.png: Johannes Barre (IGEL) derivative work: TUFKAAP (Patrick Mannion) (Map_korea_without_labels.png) [CC-BY-SA-3.0] or [GFDL] , via Wikimedia Commons).
While flying my red air balloon over the country of Korea, I noticed many mountains on the north and east side of the country with plains on the west and south sides. As my balloon reached the capital of South Korea, Seoul (pronounced so-ul), I saw an interesting structure in a park, so I decided to land my balloon there. It turns out I had landed in Olympic Park and the huge structure with winged arches that I saw from my red air balloon is called World Peace Gate. I noticed a friendly looking boy and girl at the park with their parents that waved to me as I looked up at the beautiful structure. I waved back with a smile and decided to ask them about the World Peace Gate. The boy, named Ji-Oo (지우), was very happy to answer and explained that the structure was designed by an architect back in 1986 for the 1988 Olympics that took place in Seoul. The gate is a sign of peace and harmony and was completed just before the Olympics began. To learn more about the World Peace gate, check out this website with your parent, guardian or teacher!
I had a great time walking around with Ji-Oo and his sister, Hae-In (혜인) to see and learn more about the World Peace Gate. After, we went to a grassy area of the park with Ji-Oo and Hae-In's parents. They had set a colorful picnic full of all kinds of interesting looking foods for the children. They said that today is a very special day for all children in Korea and said, "Happy Children's Day" 어린이날을 축하합니다 to their kids. They brought their kids to the park to have a picnic and fly kites together before heading over to a famous amusement park called Lotte World. They kindly invited me to join them on their Children's Day activities and I was super excited to share the celebration with them!
For the picnic - called sopung (소풍) in Korean - they had brought some food that I'd never had before! There waskimbap, a small rice roll filled with different kinds of things like egg, vegetable, and imitation crab. It is a popular picnic or lunchbox food that Koreans enjoy and reminded me of the tasty sushi I tried out with Yoshiko and Akira in Japan. Mandoo was another finger food, a dumpling that can be filled with meat like pork or beef, but these were filled with vegetables. There were also these little balls of nuts and dried fruit called jap gwa pyon. All of it was yummy and homemade! I saw lots of other families enjoying the park though, and some of them were shopping for food from nearby stores or vendors. (Photo of Kimbap By jqn - a flickr user -(http://flickr.com/photos/jqn/290210441/) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons).
After some snacks it was time to fly kites! My new friends were flying their traditional Korean kites. Ji-Oo had one with a mask drawn on it and Hae-In had the Korean flag printed on hers. While the wind kept their kites high in the sky, they told me more about how Children's day got started. During the 1920s, almost 100 years ago, a children's author named Dr. Bang Jung-Hwan helped support students in Korea who wanted to be treated better by the Japanese, who controlled Korea after the treaty of 1810. Dr. Bang Jung-Hwan started using the word eorini (어린이) to mean children and the word became popular. When Korea gained independence in 1945, the idea of Children's Day was revived. The day began on May 1st, but that was already being used for Labor Day, so Children's Day was moved to May 5th.
I had such a wonderful time picnicking and flying kites with Ji-Oo, Hae-In and their parents, that I wanted to capture the moment and share it with you in a coloring page!
Ask your parents/guardian/teacher to click on the picture below to download and print the coloring page for you. They can email your finished pages for me to post on my website by clicking here. I would love to see some of your coloring creations!
After flying kites, the parents said it was time to go to Lotte World. I'd never been to an amusement park, and the family was nice enough to invite me along! We rode the subway a short distance to Lotte World, then stepped out and I was amazed by all the sites and sounds!
There was a big castle with flags, and a bridge that had many people crossing it. It was near Seoul Zoo, though we didn't get to go there because there was just too much to do at the amusement park. There were characters dressed in costume almost everywhere I looked! They would dance or sing and greet visitors. Inside there were many stores for shopping as well as an ice-skating rink! There were also special rides like a roller coaster and a pretend air balloon that goes up and down. I thought the balloon ride was fun, but not quite as fast as my magical red air balloon!
When we were done at Lotte World, the family took me back to Olympic Park so I could get in my air balloon to head home. On the way the kids told me that they had plans to get their parents carnation flowers on Parent's Day, which is in just a few days on May 8th. Their parents also explained why they loved Children's Day; with all the long hours of hard work the parents have to do, and the many hours of school and homework the kids had, their parents enjoy the chance to spend special time with their kids. After all, they said, children are the future and deserve their own kind of respect.
Before the day was over, the kids shared a big "thank you" with their parents for taking them to so many fun places for Children's Day. And I said "thank you" - gam-sah-ab-nida (감사합니다)- to the whole family for bringing me along and sharing such a wonderful time with me!
I told the family how I have learned some words in Korean by reading from the folk tale books that I reviewed by FB Smit. I was very excited to learn more! So Ji-Oo grabbed some paper from a notebook in his backpack and wrote down some Korean greetings and words associated with Children's Day for me to practice on my own. I was so excited and grateful for his help! Here are the words he gave me:
- Children's Day: 어린이날
- Happy Children's Day: 어린이날을 축하합니다
- Hello: 안녕하세요
- Goodbye (to the person who is leaving): 안녕히 가세요
- Goodbye (to the person who is staying): 안녕히 계세요
- Thank you: 감사합니다
- Fan: 부채
- Kite: 연
- Book: 책
- Amusement park: 놀이공원
- Playground: 놀이터
- Zoo: 동물원
- Picnic: 소풍
I have also included the video below that shares some Korean greeting phrases so you can hear how Korean sounds when it is spoken:
Also, if you are interested in making your own traditional Korean kit at home with an adult, click here to watch this video with them and learn how.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about South Korea and how they celebrate Children's Day! My favorite part of the day was sharing traditional Korean food with Ji-Oo and Hae-In's family and getting to fly Korean kits together. Does your country celebrate their own version of Children's Day? Comment below and share with me!
Please note: Giveaway is over.
KOREAN CULTURE PACKAGE GIVEAWAY!!
After being inspired by my special trip, I wanted to share a little bit of Korea with you! With the help of my good friend, FB Smit (author of Heung Bu and Nol Bu and The Mysterious Stream), I have a special Korean Culture Package giveaway just for my readers!!!
Ask your parent/guardian/teacher to click here to sign up for our giveaway to receive an amazing Korean Culture Package courtesy of FB Smit that includes these amazing multicultural items:
A signed copy of The Mysterious Stream that I received last week
A set of Korean chopsticks (right and left handed available)
A handmade Korean envelope.
We have three (3) giveaway packages available for three (3) winners so enter now by May 18th to win!
You must be 18 years or older to enter and live in the United States and can see all the contest rules on the link above.
UPDATE 5/21/17: CONGRATULATIONS to our winners, Bethany E. from Alexandria, Virginia, Frances E. from Columbia, South Carolina and Julie Y. from Park, Colorado!!Thank you to Eeyagi Tales, LLC for providing these wonderful prizes to our winners and helping me share the Korean culture with everyone!!! Hope you all enjoy your prizes and thank you to all who entered!
Well, I am off to travel back to my home in West Sumatra, friends. Hope you had a great time joining me on my adventure to South Korea for Children's Day and see you next time on a new adventure!
Have a great day and 안녕히 계십시오 annyeonghi gyesibsio (goodbye friends)!