Hanbok; Korean Folk Clothing

Germany has lederhosen, Japan has the kimono, Connecticut has Polo shirts and Korea has hanbok(한복). But what exactly is hanbok and most importantly, how can you get your hands on some of these wonderful articles of clothing and wear some for yourself?

The origins

The true beginning of these wonderfully designed and fabulously colorful sets of clothing are said to go back to the Joseon era (1392-1897), which is what modern hanbok is usually a reflection of, but the precedents for hanbok go back much further in Korean history, over one thousand years ago.

During the Joseon era though, hanbok and clothing of this style were worn every day. The different colors, symbols, designs and levels of intricacy of ones clothing reflected profession and social status. The general design of hanbok and the special rules, shapes, fabric, materials, colors, patterns, symbols and accessories all tell a story and all have symbolic and spiritual significance.

These rules and significance are mostly drawn from Confucianism and later Neo-Confucianism, which were both the official state religious philosophies and forms of government during Korea’s Joseon period. Symbolism from Taoism, Buddhism and Korean shamanism also play a role in hanbok’s unique, beautiful, lavish and exotic appearance. 

Hanbok: When To Wear?

Today, hanbok has made a big comeback thanks in part to Hanryu/Hallryu(한류) or “Korean Wave”. Hanbok inspired modern fashion pieces as well as traditional style hanbok are relatively common-place throughout Korea and other parts of the world today.

Baby Birthdays, Weddings

Hanbok is typically worn during holidays like Chuseok and Seolnal, during a baby’s Dol, which celebrates a baby’s first birthday, or a couple’s wedding, in which friends and family may wear hanbok and the bride and groom will wear a set of hanbok designed in the style of a Joseon king and queen as well as slightly more casual hanbok during the wedding reception.

Funerals

Black and white hanbok may also be worn during funerals. Hanbok is known to be bright, vibrant, vivacious and expressive and so black hanbok in particular is almost only ever worn for funerals, while white hanbok was the tradition color worn by most social classes during the Joseon era.

Tea Ceremonies, Cultural Events

In addition to these events or gatherings, people can be found wearing hanbok at Korean tea ceremonies and other cultural events, around Gyeongbokgung palace and at many of the hanok villages like in Jeonju. Near the latter sites, hanbok rental shops are common place and one can have the fun experience of wearing hanbok of various styles, patterns and designs. One can dress like a king or queen, like a scholar-official, a royal guard or even a gisaeng, a type of female entertainer of the Joseon era. 

How to wear hanbok

As mentioned above there is different hanbok for different events and there are particular ways to wear each article of clothing found in each different set of hanbok. So let’s take a look at a few different outfit sets and how the items are all worn in an ensemble.

Men’s hanbok

For men’s typical hanbok the outfit will usually consist of a wide sleeved shirt called a jeogori , a vest or jokki and baji or baggy pants as well as special slipper-like shoes. A traditional round, black horsehair hat known as a gat may also be included as well as a large, wide overcoat known as a durumagi. For those renting hanbok these additional items may cost a bit extra. To wear men’s hanbok properly, the baji, or pants should go on first. There may be some strings to tie around the waste along with a Velcro strap and a zipper to fasten the top of the pants. The ankles will also have short, thick adjustable strings to fasten the openings around your ankles. Next, one can put on the top shirt. This may also have fabric pegs to fasten the neckline. After this, the vest is put on. This one may be a bit tricky because the tassels that form the bow on the front should be tied a special way, while a pin or fastener can close the vest up. The vest is meant to be a bit shorter and tighter, while the pants and shirt and baggy and long. As for the gat, it will be tied and fastened on the head with special tassels, too. And the durumagi is also to be pinned off to one side and fastened with a belt. 

Women’s hanbok

women hanbok

Women’s hanbok includes a large, wide, flowing skirt known as a chima. Another garment is the wide sleeved jeogori shirt and then a short vest as an overcoat. Some style of hanbok may include an intricate woven wig or a wide brimmed circular hat that is fastened with ribbons and strings. A hairpin and other ornaments that have spiritual and symbolic significance may also be included and are different based on the occasion, ones age, ones marital status and ones social status. A long pair of white socks and slightly curved and sometimes heeled shoes may also be included with women’s hanbok.

To wear this hanbok properly, first, put on the long white socks, next put on the chima skirt, this will usually be attached to a thin sleeveless top garment. This is not a complete outfit though without a jeogori over the thin top garment. Fasten and zipper the back of the chima and then put on the top long sleeved jeogori. Like the men’s shirt, this one will be able to be fastened and strapped to one side in order to keep it closed. Next, the vest is put on over the long sleeved shirt. And its fabric tassels can be tied into ribbons and fastened accordingly. Traditionally, a women will wear their hair braided and bound in a certain style, again depending on age, rank and marital status. Usually young and unmarried girls and women will wear their hair in a single braid in the back. Married women can have their hair bound or in an up do similar to the Joseon era styles. Both men and women can wear a magoja, which is a type of jacket worn over the jeogori and the vest.

Children’s hanbok

The hanbok for children is of course similar to that worn by adults with a few distinctions. Children may wear what is called a ggatchi durumagi, which is a long and colorful overcoat fastened in the front with a ribbon. These coats are very splendid and have colorful sleeves decorated with alternating color patterns. In addition to this little overcoat, a cloth head wrap known as a bokgeon may also be worn. This cap is usually black and has a peaked top and fabric that extends down the back. Girls may wear a gulle, which can be black or very colorful and wraps around the head and ears. 

Wedding hanbok

Wedding hanbok resembles the clothing worn by the king and queen during the Joseon era. Colors can vary but the traditional colors are blue for the groom and red for the bride. The blue represents the dragon and the red, the phoenix. The dragon and phoenix represent the harmonious pairing of the male principle, represented by the aerial and amphibious Eastern dragon and the fiery and airy feminine principle that the Eastern Phoenix conveys. This is a more animated expression of the concept of yin and yang which is a philosophical tradition that extends throughout Korean society and even into the design of hanbok, too. This type of hanbok is often worn during a couple’s p’yebaek or during a whole wedding ceremony depending on how traditional the service is! 

For more information about Korean weddings, please visit the below page:

The Groom’s hanbok

This hanbok includes a large overcoat that is worn over another outfit, most likely standard hanbok. This overcoat is adorned with a vestigial belt around the waste that is hard and more ornamental than functional. A headdress similar to the one Korean kings would wear is also worn atop the head and a pair of black boots that reach to the knees may also be worn.

The Bride’s hanbok

The bride’s hanbok is truly exquisite. Her hair may be braided in a particular way and she will wear many hairpieces, like one long hairpin in the back just below her ears that holds flowing tapestry-like fabric adorned with intricate designs. She may also wear a large black headdress atop the head that is rounded and black and covered with gems and special pins. Over the bride’s standard hanbok or other clothing she will wear a red, flowing gown with large, wide sleeves that are lavishly ornate. The bride will also usually have two small red blush marks taped or painted on her cheeks. Another key feature is the large white fabric sheet that may be plain white or embellished with designs or Classical Chinese characters. This sheet is used to catch jujubes and chestnuts during the p’yebaek. 

Traditional electrifies the modern

Come and discover the amazing and rich cultural tradition of hanbok! Whether you are exploring the palaces of Seoul or enjoying the cherry blossoms in Jeonju, or even celebrating Korean Lunar New Year, wearing hanbok is the perfect way to immerse oneself in Korean culture. Thousands of years in the making have crafted and weaved life into hanbok. A life which is as rich and illustrious today as it was during the height of the Joseon dynasty!

Sources:

  • “Hanbok.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Dec. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanbok.
  • Ladner, Mimsie. “Hanbok: An Introduction to South Korea’s National Dress.” Culture Trip, The Culture Trip, 25 Jan. 2017, theculturetrip.com/asia/south-korea/articles/hanbok-an-introduction-to-south-koreas-national-dress/.
  • “Weather 12-18-2019.” Visitkorea, english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AKR/AK_ENG_2_2.jsp.

The beauty of Sri Lankan culture

The word ‘Sri Lanka’ simply make us admire their generosity. It’s indisputable that Sri Lankans have the best way of treating others also they have the artistic lifestyles which impress others. Culture, traditions, and values are never considered less in Sri Lanka it’s always at the top of every Sri Lankans heart so we have a lot to learn about them. We will reveal the beauty of Sri Lankan tradition which includes different kinds of dances, traditional attire, ceremonies and traditional medicines. Let us have a look at the article to learn further.

The dances that capture everyone’s eyes

Actually, it’s obvious that Sri Lanka is special for dancing since Sri Lankans have the higher values for artistic lifestyles. In fact, dance is followed as the main subject by the students in most of the Buddhism schools where students are being requested to follow it since it’s one of the traditions of Buddhist in Sri Lanka. There are three main types of traditional dance in Sri Lanka they are such as Kandyan, low country, and Sabaragamuwa dance. Apart from these three main types of dance, there is another type of dance which is performed when harvesting or in festivals i.e. folk dance.

Their tradition is showed in their attire as well

Lankans are born to be traditional of course, they are not any less when it comes to being modernized but they never give less attention to their tradition. You would be amazed to know that they show their tradition from their attire as well so let us check it out.

  • Sarong- Sri Lankan men do wear sarong but it is mostly seen in rural and some communities in urban cities. It is considered as the standard dress for men also it shows that they respect their tradition. You will be able to see printed or plain sarong which will be in full length starting from hip to toe. If you study the cities in Sri Lanka it will have mix culture along with western clothes.
  • Sari- a six-yard lengthy fabric which is worn by Sri Lankan women and of course, they will look charming in the sari as it is traditional attire. You should also note that different parts of Sri Lanka have different styles to wear sari so it will differ according to the part of the country.

The complete Picture of Sri Lanka is when the ceremonies and traditions are included

There are many ceremonies held in Sri Lanka as the country consists of several religions such as Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and some other religions. As Buddhists are highly populated in Sri Lanka we will describe two main ceremonies which are held by them.

  • Harvesting time – ‘Paddy’ is a special crop for Sri Lankan citizens as well as for the economy so during the harvesting there will be a small ceremony which is celebrated by the villagers (farmers). They have the hearts of showing gratitude so when the harvest is good they have the habit of thanking the God.
  • New Year – this is called ‘Aluth Awurudhu’ in the Sinhala language. Usually, this festival falls in the middle of April and celebrated by Buddhists and Hindus the time of celebration is decided based on astrology. So, this festival is considered as one of the special festival and Sri Lankans celebrate this as one nation along with other citizens of the country.

 

Red Color Items

A Khmer Belief is that People tie red cloths on their wrist, motor handles and other type of accessories because they believe that it will bring good luck and happiness to them.
People like wearing Red Clothes on Sunday because it is believed to give them more happiness.

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Wear modestly

Philippines is a democratic country where people can be free to decide for themselves as long as they are not stepping on others’ rights but it doesn’t mean that they really can all the time. There are still rules to be followed because their freedom, though won’t literally touch other’s rights, can bother other people in some ways. This is what people from other ‘open’ countries should understand and abide when they are in the Philippines. They have to dress as modest as the Filipinos. They also have to wear clothes based on the event of the place they will be going. When one says business attire, he really means strict business attire and those which will allow assets which are supposed to be hidden to be shown are not allowed. Except for the main cities in the country, it’s appreciated more if one will be in one-piece swim suit or wet suits than sexy two-piece swim suits when going to the resorts. Filipino are not used in swimming in public places naked.

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Hill tribe traditional dress

Hill tribe (In Thai, made up of some combination of ชาว [chaao] or คน [khohn] for folk or people and เขา [khao] or ดอย [doi] for mountain [ดอย being the northern word for mountain])[1] is a term used in Thailand for all of the various tribal peoples who inhabit the Northern region of Myanmar (Burma).[citation needed] They now inhabit the remote border areas between Northern Thailand, Laos and Burma (Myanmar). These areas are known for their thick forests and mountainous terrain. The six major hill tribes within Thailand are the Akha, Lahu, Karen, Hmong/Miao, Mien/Yao and Lisu, each with a distinct language and culture.

The hill tribes have traditionally been primarily subsistence farmers who use slash and burnagricultural techniques to farm their heavily forested communities.[2] Popular perceptions that slash and burn practices are environmentally destructive, government concerns over borderland security, and population pressure has caused the government to forcibly relocate many hill tribe peoples.[3] Traditionally, hill tribes were also a migratory people, leaving land as it became depleted of natural resources or when trouble arose.

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Always fit your gown first

Before getting married, usually, the bride fits the new gown to ensure that the gown fits well and she looks good on it. In the Philippines, it is a big ‘NO’. The old ones will really oppose fitting of the gown. The soon-to-be bride can just check the details of her gown by merely looking at and touching it and ensure its measurements only by using the tape measure or other measuring devices that can be used. The woman can actually put or lean the gown against her body, as if wearing it but only the front view can be seen, but can’t put her body inside the gown. The gown can only be worn on the day of the wedding. Some of the Filipino people, those who consider themselves “super modern” don’t follow this, but most do. They believe that id the gown will be fitted, the wedding ceremony will not happen, there will be a tragedy, or future problems which can break the marriage will happen.

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