The Culture of South Korea

Written by Erica Tomy.

The contemporary culture of South Korea was prevalent in the early Korean nomadic tribes. The ancient Korean culture was maintained for thousands of years and with the influence from ancient Chinese culture, South Korea split itself away from North Korean culture, since the division of Korea in 1948.

South Korea, especially Seoul, it’s capital underwent industrialization, urbanization and westernization. Hence, many changes were brought to the way the Koreans live. As a result, it led to a concentration of population in major cities, depopulation of rural countryside, etc. Today, most of the Korean cultural elements have spread across the globe and have become one of the most prominent cultures in the world.                     

1. Restaurant Etiquette

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Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels

When their hands are dirty, the Koreans use toilet paper to clean their hands, which is unique. If they want to call the waiter or order food, they just need to press the button on the table, and they will be served quickly. In order to cut food, they use scissors instead of a knife as they believe it’s easier and safer to cut food using scissors. If they want, they can sit on the floor to have food. In most restaurants, the customers have to remove their footwear before entering.

2. Selfie Mania

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Photo by Tommy Huang from Pexels

Selfie sticks are rampant among the young and the old people in Korea. They are crazy about selfies and they take selfies all the time, wherever they are.

3. Samsung and LG

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Image by Pexels

Samsung and LG rule the universe in Korea.  Phones, cars, laptop, air conditioning, washing machine and so on, are all of the brand Samsung or LG. Other brands are not in demand in Korea and hence, Samsung and LG do not face any cut-throat competition in the market in Korea.

4. Matching couples

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The couples in Korea match their clothing and accessories. Such couples are common there. It is often interesting to witness the matching looks of couples.

5. Double Hands

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    Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

When bidding goodbye or a hello, the Koreans use both their hands. And when shaking hands with older persons, they should use both their hands and also that, the handshake should be initiated only by older people. While pouring a drink for old people, they need to use both their hands as a sign of respect and courtesy.

6. Different Age

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Photo by the Craft Wonder from Pexels

When babies are born in Korean, they are considered as one year old, as the Koreans believe that they have lived for nine months, which is approximately one year, in their mother’s womb. Everyone gains one year on New Year’s Day, so if they are born on December 31st, the very next day they will turn 2 years. It is hard to guess the age of the Koreans as they look very young.

7. Socks and Phone Cases Stores

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Photo by Burst from Pexels

There are single stores for socks and phone cases. There are a variety of unique and trendy designs for socks and phone cases. Hence, visiting South Korea should be added to your bucket list as there are a lot of things to be discovered there.

8. Eating with Friends and Family

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Photo by Fauxels from Pexels

In Korea, people eat with family or friends.  No one goes to a restaurant alone to have food. So, when you are eating food alone, the Koreans will find it awkward and wonder what has happened between you and your family or friends. Most restaurants in Korea, do not have the ability to serve a solo person. There should be at least two people to dine at a restaurant.

9. Sweet Food, yet Hot

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Photo by Lovefood Art  from Pexels

Firstly, the Koreans find sweet food as complete and attractive, hence, they add sugar to cheese, bread, etc. They add sweet to most food items as they believe that it makes their meal very delicious. Secondly, Korean food is at the topmost position for the hottest and spicy food in the world.

10. The Magic Button

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

There is a button in the bathrooms in Korea which makes a relaxing sound that muffles the sound of you using the bathroom and also makes a peaceful environment. They can press the button as per their choice.

11. Clean Teeth

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The Koreans brush their teeth at least 3 to 4 times a day. They carry a toothbrush in their bags. Even in school, the teachers and students brush their teeth after having lunch. Hence, after every meal, they Koreans brush their teeth to keep themselves clean.

12. The Girls

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Photo by Capturing Souls from Pexels

Women in Korea feel uncomfortable when they are being touched on their skin or body. Even if it is a close friend, Korean women will find it difficult when they are being touched.  Putting hands on the shoulder or waist just for posing for a picture, also makes them feel uncomfortable. When you visit Korea at any time if you get the opportunity to take photos with Korean girls, do respect their feelings.

13. Time is Precious

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

When ordering food at a restaurant in Korea, the customers need not wait until the waiter arrives with the change. They can pay their bill directly at the counter after finishing their food. As time is very precious to the Koreans, they prefer not to spend too much time having food or waiting.

14. Love Drinking

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Photo by Andres Chaparro from Pixels

All the Koreans including women love to drink beer and alcohol on every occasion, when their sad, happy or on celebrations. While drinking with their boss or older people, the Koreans have to turn around their neck without facing them and then have their drink, to show respect to their boss or older people. Korea is one among the top drinkers in the world and women in Korea have contributed to this as well.

Currently, various drinks including biologic drugs are introduced in the market as anti-hangover drinks. These drinks are added to highly alcoholic drinks before drinking and also consumed alone after drinking. The ingredients added to the anti-hangover drink suppresses alcohol absorption. It also helps to promote alcohol metabolism, reducing alcohol concentration in the blood. In addition, it represents the function of protecting liver cells from alcohol and preventing gastrointestinal mucosa damage and protecting the stomach by applying gastrointestinal mucosa.

15. Religion

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Photo by Alex Azabache from Pexels

By fact, religion in South Korea is characterized as the majority of South Koreans (56.1% as per 2015 national census) do not follow any religion. Protestant Christians represent (19.7%),  Buddhism represents (15.5%), and Catholics represent (7.9%) of the population. And a minute percentage of South Koreans (0.8% in total) follow other religions including Won Buddhism, Confucianism, Cheondoism, Daesun Jinrihoe, Daejongism, Jeungsanism and Orthodox Christianity.

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erica tomy author picErica Tomy is a content writer at The Strong Traveller. Erica, apart from being a student of Bachelor of Commerce, she is also a model, an anchor and an artist, with the aim of becoming an entrepreneur someday. She is passionate about storytelling and making creative contents for various brands. She likes to do ‘smart work’ more than ‘hard work’!


54 thoughts on “The Culture of South Korea

  1. Really I interesting read, especially about the age. Had no idea that a new born is counted as a one year old over there! Would love to visit South Korea, such a interesting culture. Great post!!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Aw! My pleasure dear, thanks for sharing those content. Hahah, yes; and probably that is the main reason why few millennials are hooked in South Korean Idols, Film and Etc. many to mention 😅❤️

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! This is a detailed post. I am quite familar with some of these because of the Korean movies I watch. Yea.. The two hands thing😁, turning and drinking when with elders😃, I just learnt their food is 🌶️🌶️spicy🤔. I know they like eating hot food I never knew about the spicy nature.
    South Korea is certainly on my bucket list. Can’t wait to wear their traditional wear and take selfie. Also, can wait to wave with my 2 hands 😄😄 and feel the culture. I still watch their movies to know some words in their language.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for reading my article. I think even you are crazy about South Korea, just like me. Nice to hear from you.👍😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great Erica. Very informative. A new place on my bucket list, but this time I’m well prepared. Thanks for all the info. It’s gonna be easy to blend in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful article..Got to know more about South Korea through a single article. Great work and keep going. All the best Erica

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What an interesting article! I’ve been a fan of Korean dramas for how many years now and reading this post made me realize the things I didn’t notice before. It made me look back to the shows I watched and these are true! What amazes me is their age. It’s my first time reading about it! I hope to visit South Korea soon!

    Btw, I’m loving your blogs! I can’t wait to back read and I’m looking forward to more of your future contents! 💖

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: The Culture of South Korea — The Strong Traveller – Truth Troubles
  7. This made a beautiful read. South Korea has something that’s so intriguing that I have already decided to plan a visit at the soonest or have someone from Korea visit us and be part of our culture and celebrations. Any one from South Korea reading this is most welcome to consider themself invited. Thank you The Strong Traveller for sharing such beautiful insights for us.

    Liked by 1 person

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