Essay from Farangiz Safarova

Central Asian woman with a beige headscarf and professional jacket standing at a podium with a microphone.
Farangiz Safarova
There are various greetings in Korea, ranging from gentle nods to bows. When exchanging greetings, actions are as important as words since the behavior expresses respect towards others.
In Korea, people greet each other by lowering their head or bending forward at the waist, and these actions demonstrate respect for the other party. On ordinary occasions, or when greeting unspecified individuals, people exchange nods, slightly lowering their heads. Korean soap operas commonly show scenes of workers entering their offices exchanging morning greetings with gentle nods. When politely greeting one's elder or superior, people usually bow. For example, sales clerks in department stores bow to customers and sometimes people bow to individuals in higher social positions.
 There is a type of greeting called Jeol (a deep bow), which involves kneeling down and bowing the head to the ground. This is more courteous than a greeting done standing up. Jeol was more common in previous times of Korean history, but presently it is only done on special days or circumstances. In the past, the deep bow was given to show respect for parents, when leaving for a long travel, or when thanking somebody. However, now it is only performed on special occasions, such as on Lunar New Year's day, during traditional wedding ceremonies, as part of ancestral rites or when newlyweds visit their parents after returning from their honeymoon
Korea's modern way of greeting is the handshake. The handshake came to Korea through the influence of western culture and is usually done in public situations rather than in less formal occasions. While it is generally considered appropriate common between men, women tend to offer their hands first in meetings of mixed gender.
Korean culture has various ways of greeting, and there are some differences with the greetings of the West. In western culture, people usually look each other in the eye when sharing their greetings. However, in Korea, it is considered impolite to make eye contact with an elder while greeting them. As such, it is more appropriate for the inferior to lower their eyes when greeting their superiors. Even so, it is considered polite to make occasional eye contact during conversations after the greeting is complete.
In Korea, people give gifts while exchanging heartfelt greetings on special occasions such as weddings, funerals or when visiting hospitals. People show their affection by giving gifts, which are sometimes in the form of cash or gift certificates. In Korea, the type of gifts varies based on the occasion and relationship to the recipient. Throughout the ages, people shared rice cakes made with red beans with their new neighbors after moving. This is because Korean people believed that the red color of the beans prevented bad things from happening. Sharing red bean rice cakes remains a custom in the rural areas, and this custom is sometimes even seen in apartments in the city.

Safarova Farangiz, 19 years old. Second year student of the Faculty of Korean Language of the International University of Kimyo.

One thought on “Essay from Farangiz Safarova

  1. I lie here staring into an empty spoon thinking of red beans looking out at all the garbage that the cleaning man collects.
    Season’s GreetingsĀ”

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