Baek-il: 100 Days

Baek-il (백일) is a Korean celebration of a baby’s first 100 days of life. It is a big milestone for a baby to reach 100 days. Back in the day, babies would pass away because of illnesses and poor living conditions. Parents would try and avoid bringing their babies outside until they were 100 days old, since 100 days was a sign that babies would see their first birthday.

On baek-il, parents pray and worship the spirit, Samshin. They offered rice and soup to the spirit to thank her for helping the baby and the parents through this difficult time period. Afterwards, family, friends, and relatives celebrate with rice cakes, fruits, and other treats. Usually during this celebration, the parents dress their baby in a traditional Korean hanbok.

Matryoshka dolls

Matryoshka dolls are wooden Russian nesting dolls, which are popular Russian souvenirs and often given as gifts. A matryoshka doll is taken apart in the middle, revealing a smaller doll. Matryoshka doll sets ranges from three to twenty dolls. The first matryoshka doll was created in 1890 in a workshop called “Children’s Education” in Abramtsevo.  It was inspired by Japanese souvenir dolls for kids. The outer most layer of a traditional matryoshka doll consists of a woman in a sarafan, and the inner most layer is a baby. Matryoshka dolls artistry can be very elaborate and often follow a theme. The name Matryoshka comes from the Russian girl name Matryona or Matriyosha, which comes from the Latin root ‘mater’ meaning ‘mother.’ The doll is considered to be a symbol for fertility and motherhood.


Korean Traditional Hanboks

안녕하세요 여러분! Hello everyone!

So for my senior presentation I had to do for school, I decided to do my topic on Korean traditional hanboks. Today, exactly one year ago, is the day I left for South Korea. So let me share my love of South Korea and the Korean culture, and inform you.. Below are all the information on the different components of the Korean 한복 I composed ( and also pictures that go along with them).

*Note: Quite of few of the pictures are of actors and actresses from various historical Korean dramas.

Korean Traditional Hanboks

yellow-pink남자 한복  shin min ah loose hair


The hanbok is the traditional dress of North and South Korea. In North Korea, however, it is called 조선옷 instead of hanbok. The history of the hanbok dates back as far as the Three Kingdoms’ Period (57 B.C.-668 A.D.). In the olden days, the attire differed according to the wearer’s gender, class, profession, social status, and season.

For example-In the summertime, the 양반/yangban (which were members of the highest social class during the Joseon Dynasty) wore hanboks made of ramie, and commoners wore hanboks made of hemp.In the wintertime, the 양반/yangban wore hanboks made of silk and satin, while the commoners wore hanboks made of cotton.

Main Components:

There are two main components of the Korean hanbok. For men, the hanbok is composed of the upper jacket known as 저고리/jeogori and pants known as 바지/baji.

남자 저고리baji

For women, the hanbok is composed of the 저고리/jeogori and the skirt known as 치마/chima.

저고리랑 치마



Korean hanboks are colored by using natural dyes. The colors of nature are imbued in the cloth. For example: to obtain a red color, one would ground red flower petals in a mortar, then put the grounded petals in a jar, and later rinse them with hot caustic soda.

flower petals mortar

flower petals in a mortar

The colors used to make the 저고리/jeogori and 치마/chima depended on the wearer’s social status.  Royalty, court officials, and the upper class wore bright colored hanboks, while commoners wore light earth colored hanboks such as white, pale pink, light green, and charcoal.

bright color hanbok

bright colored hanboks 

earthly colors

light earth colored hanboks 

Symbolism of Colors:

The aesthetic elements of the hanbok embody the Korean sense of beauty. The aesthetic framework is based on the Korean preference for naturalness, desire for supernatural protection and blessings, and the Confucian-style dress code. Traditional hanboks boasted the vivid colors based on the basic hues that correspond with the five elements of the yin and yang theory: metal, fire, wood, water, and earth.Therefore, the main colors worn were commonly white (metal), red (fire), blue (wood), black (water), and yellow (earth).

chinese elements

Koreans often wore white regardless of status, because of its symbolism for purity and modesty. The color white also accentuates the black hair of the Korean people.

하얀 한복

The color red symbolizes good fortune and wealth, thus it was often used for women’s wedding garments.

The color black symbolizes infinity and the fountainhead of all creation. Black was often used for men’s hats.

The color yellow represents the center of the universe, which was often worn by royalty.

노란 한복-공주

The color gold symbolizes the emperor, so back then the general public was not allowed to wear gold colored hanboks.

The color indigo symbolizes constancy, which was often used for the skirts of court ladies and coats of court officials.

court ladies

Young unmarried women wore yellow 저고리/jeogori and red 치마/chima prior to marriage to show their maidenhood, and married women wore green 저고리/jeogori and red 치마/chima after their weddings and when paying their respects to the in-laws.

노란 초록 빤간 한복


Patterns were primarily used to enhance the beauty of Korean hanboks.Plant, animal, and other nature patterns were often added to the rim of the 치마/chima and the areas around the shoulder.

hanbok flower pattern최주왈 pattern

Patterns were also used to represent the wearer’s wishes:

Peonies embroidered on a bridal gown represented a wish for honor and wealth.

Lotus flowers represented a wish for nobility.

Bats and pomegranates represented a wish for children.

An axe-shaped pendant represented a pregnant woman’s wish for a son.

Chinese characters embroidered on hanboks such as 복,회, and 수 were used to represent a wish for (복) good fortune, (회) happiness, and (수) a long life.

hanbok chinese characters baby

Dragons, phoenixes, cranes, and tigers symbolized royalty and high-ranking officials.

김수현 pattern

Other Components:

The other components of the Korean hanbok include the hairstyles, headgear, accessories, overcoats and vests, 동정(dongjeong)/white collar, (git)/the fabric that trims the collar, 끝동 (ggeutdong)/cuffs, 고름 (goreum)/coat strings, 옷고름 (ot-goreum)/the bow formed from the coat strings, 속옷 (sogot)/undergarments, 버선 (beoseon/white socks that were worn by everyone regardless of social status and gender, and shoes.


The white collar above is the 동정/dongjeong and the fabric trimming the collar is the 깃/git.


The purple cuffs of the sleeves above are the 끝동/ggeutdong.


These pictures are an illustration on how to make the coat strings/ribbon known as 고름/goreum into the pretty knot known as 옷고름/ot-goreum.

white socks

The white socks known as 버선/beoseon.

Hairstyles for Men:

Men only had two types of hairstyles to choose from while wearing traditional hanboks. The first is known as 상투/sangtu (topknot), which is when one brings the hair to the top of the head and ties it into a knot. A pin known as 동곳/donggot holds the 상투/sangtu together. The second is to wear the hair loose. 상투/sangtu, however, was more commonly worn than loose hair back then.

이준기 상투


The pin known as 동곳/donggot holds the 상투/sangtu together.

상투/sangtu hairstyle 

loose hair

Loose hairstyle

Headgear for Men:

Men had a multitude of headgear. The most common headgear worn by men was /gat. 갓/gat is a hat made of horse hair that was used to protect the 상투/sangtu and represent the rank of the person wearing it. Underneath the 갓 , men wore 망건/manggeon , a headband worn to keep the hair from falling. Attached to the 망건/manggeon are a pair of small buttons called 관자/gwanja (ring-shaped) or pyeongjam (crescent-shaped). And sometimes, men wore 탕건/tanggeon, a type of sheer hat-which could have also been solely worn indoors.




The headband known as 망건/manggeon.

관자관자 선균관 스캔들

관자/gwanja (ring-shaped buttons)


The sheer hat known as 탕건/tanggeon.

사모/samo is a hat worn with dalleyong,gwanbok, or cheollik by high ranking officials. It is now used for grooms’ headgear.


복건/bokgeon is a headdress made of black fabric that was worn by Confucian scholars and later on, by young boys.


남자아이 복건

흑립/heukrip is a type of 갓 that was worn by 양반/yangban (the upper class), which is usually smaller in size than the traditional 갓/gat.


패랭이/paeraengi is a hat made of bamboo, which was worn by commoners.


삿갓/satgat is a conical-shaped hat made of straw, which was commonly worn by farmers and monks.


벙거지/beunggeoji also known as 전립/jeonrip is a special type of hat for military personnel, which was styled according to the wearer’s rank.



*Look up more on men headgear

Hairstyles for Women:

Unlike men, women had plenty of ways to wear their hair. The most common hairstyle is known as 댕기머리/daengi-meori, which is a style worn only by unmarried women. The hair is made into a braid and a large ribbon is attached to the end of the braid.


Married woman wore 쪽진머리/jjokjin-meori. The hair is brought to the back of the head and tied into a bun. The bun is held and fastened together by a pin.


Married women sometimes wore 얹은머리/eonjeun-meori. Instead of the bun being on the back of the head like the 쪽진머리/jjokjin-meori hairstyle, the bun “rests” on the top of the head. Women used to use real hair to make the bun fuller and more impressive, but using real hair was heavy on the head, expensive, and even caused neck injury and death. A wig known as 가체/gache was later used to make the bun. 가체/gache was expensive so many women could not afford to wear this hairstyle, but 얹은머리/eonjeun-meori was still more popular among the 기생/gisaeng, female entertainers or [sometimes] prostitutes.


Queens, kings’ wives, and queen mothers wore a hairstyle known as 어여머리/eoyeo-meori. The hairstyle mainly consists of wigs such as 다래/darae, which is made into a thick braid and secured on the top of the head.



큰머리/keun-meori is the same as 어여머리/eoyeo-meori, but atop of the 큰머리/keun-meori is a large addition called 떠구지/ddeoguji,which was added for emphasis. 떠구지/ddeoguji was also made of human hair, but was later replaced with wood because of its heavy weight.


Along with the hanbok and hairstyles are accessories. 댕기/daenggi is the large decorative ribbon that ties the end of the braid and is commonly worn with the 댕기머리/daenggi-meori hairstyle (hence the 댕기/daenggi in 댕기머리/daenggi-meori).


배씨댕기/baess[h]i-daenggi is a thin, cloth-like or soft material stuffed into colored cloth that could be worn atop of the head with 댕기머리/daenggi-meori.


비녀/binyeo is the pin that holds the bun of the 쪽진머리/jjokjin-meori hairstyle together. 비녀/binyeo  could be made from wood, bronze, silver, gold, jade, bamboo, or animal bones.


Other accessories that could be worn with the 쪽진머리/jjokjin-meori hairstyle are 뒤꽂이/dwikkoji and 첩지/cheobji. 뒤꽂이/dwikkoji is a smaller accessory added onto the hair as decoration and 첩지/cheobji is a rod-like hairpin used to fasten the knotted hair. 첩지/cheobji is made of metal such as silver and is in shape of a dragon, phoenix, frog, duck, peacock, or flowers.

조선 뒤꽂이


Additional ribbon and round-shaped ornaments known as 떨잠/ddeoljam were added to the braid of the 어여머리/eoyeo-meori and 큰머리/keun-meori hairstyles to create a more luxurious look. The ornaments also depicted the wearer’s rank and position.


노리개/norigae is a common accessory worn on the Korean hanbok. It is tied to the 고름/goreum ,the coat strings, or the waist of the skirt to give the hanbok a more luxurious look. There are many types of 노리개/norigae,but the most popular are 삼작노리개/samjang-norigae,a pendant with three ornaments, and 단작노리개/danjang-norigae, a pendent with one ornament.


은장도/eunjangdo is a silver knife worn as a 노리개/norigae worn for self-defense. Sometimes it holds chopsticks, so the wearer knows the chopsticks are safe from any type of poisoning. It is worn by both men and women.


부채/buchae is a Korean hand fan.

부채 조선부채

각대/gakdae is a belt worn by high ranking officials.


Headgear for Women:

Women also had a variety of headgear. In the wintertime, women wore a variety of caps such as 남바위/nambawi, 조바위/jobawi, 풍차/pungcha, and 아얌/ayam in order to keep their head warm.

A 남바위/nambawi is a unisex winter cap that covers the forehead, upper neck, and ears.


A 조바위/jobawi is a winter cap for women that is open at the top and rounded at the sides to fully covers the ears.


A 풍차/pungcha is a unisex winter cap that is open at the top and is similar in shape with the 남바위/nambawi. The 풍차/pungcha does not cover the top of the head, but fully covers the forehead, back of the head, ears as well as the cheeks –in which the 불끼/bulggi is attached to both sides of the ears of the cap.


An 아얌/ayam is a winter cap worn by women that does not cover the ears, and is sometimes lined with fur. A long ribbon known as 아얌드림/ayam-dream hangs on the back of the cap,  and is sometimes decorated with jade or amber.

아얌 back

Some of the other headgear women wore are 전모/jeonmo, 족두리/jokduri, 화관/hwagwan , 장옷/jang-ot, and 쓰개치마/sseugae-chima.

A 전모/jeonmo is a hat made of bamboo and paper or cloth that was worn with the 얹은머리/eonjeun-meori hairstyle when women went outside. I personally think the 전모/jeonmo is the prettiest out of all the headgears. 전모 제일 좋아요.

전모김민서 전모박민영 ㅇㅖ쁜 전모

족두리/jokduri and 화관/hwagwan are two traditional crowns worn with ceremonial attire. 족두리/jokduri is a type of crown worn by women to complete a ceremonial dress. 족두리/jokduri is usually worn with 원삼/wonsam (see below), a bride’s topcoat that was usually worn by royalty, queens, and court ladies. The top of the crown is adorned with hard paper and cotton filling covered with silk and a cloisonné <kloy-zoh-nay> ornament.


화관/hwagwan is another type of crown worn by women to complete a ceremonial dress. 화관 ,however, was considered more lavish than 족두리/jokduri. It is adorned with butterfly ornaments, five-colored beads, and gold thread. 화관/hwagwan was usually worn with 활옷/hwarot (see below in Ceremonial/Royal Dress), which is a type of bridal topcoat usually reserved for royal women and princesses, or 당의/dangui (see below in Ceremonal/Royal Dress), which is another type of upper garment worn by queens, queen mothers, princesses, and court ladies during ceremonial occasions. 당의/dangui is usually worn on top of the 저고리/jeogori.


장옷/jang-ot and 쓰개치마/sseugae-chima are two types of veils women wore over their head to cover their head, face, and body. 장옷/jang-ot is similar to 저고리/jeogori  and 쓰개치마/sseugae-chima is made like a regular 치마/chima,but 장옷/jang-ot is longer and has a collar, and 쓰개치마/sseugae-chima is a little bit shorter and narrower than the regular 치마/chima.


Overcoats and Vests:

Overcoats and vests were often worn over the hanbok for various reasons.

두루마기/durumagi is an overcoat that was commonly worn by 양반/yangban as a housecoat or by commoners as an outdoor coat. Woman also wore 두루마기/durumagi during special occasions.


/po is an overcoat that was worn by scholars as their daily garment and by government officers while they were out for private business.


마고자/magoja is an outer jacket with long sleeves worn to keep the Korean people warm from the cold weather. It is made of silk and is decorated with one or two buttons that are usually made of amber. 마고자/magoja was originally only worn by men, but later became an unisex garment. Underneath the 마고자/magoja is a thin vest known as 조끼/jokki.


배자/baeja is a sleeveless outer vest worn by both men and women.



There were many types of shoes that were worn with Korean traditional hanboks.

꽃신/kkotshin are silk shoes with flower embroidery.


짚신/jipshin are sandals made from straw that were worn by commoners, servants, and people going out on outings.


미투리/mituri are a type of hemp sandals worn by noblemen /양반 yangban.


나막신/namangshin are wooden clogs worn to protect one’s feet from the mud and rain. It was worn by Koreans of all social positions during the rainy season.


/hye are low cut shoes that are similar to modern day loafers, and there are many variations of 혜/hye.

운혜/unhye (oon-hye)  are a type of women’s 혜/hye made of silk and decorated with colorful silk in the shape of clouds.


당혜/danghye are a type of women’s made from leather that are decorated with scroll decoration.

태사혜/taesahye are a type of men’s 혜/hye made from animal skins with scroll decoration and lined with silk on the inside. 양반/yangban ,however, were the only men able to afford 태사혜/taesahye.


흑혜/heukhye are a type of men’s 혜made from leather and fleece commonly worn by officials, scholars, and 양반/yangban as daily wear. They were usually black in color and one of the most common footwear after 짚신/jipshin.


/hwa are the general term for boots, which were made from leather or velvet and are usually black in color. They were worn by guards, government officers, court members, and people who had an active lifestyle.


Ceremonial/Royal/Other Attire:

Royalty had their own kind of dress. There was also a separate attire for special ceremonies.

Like I said earlier, 활옷/hwarot, which is a type of bridal topcoat usually reserved for royal women and princesses. Not only was it worn with 화관/hwagwan, but also 앞댕기/ap-daenggi (a type of daenggi that is paired and worn in the front), 도투락댕기/doturak-daenggi (a wider silk daenggi that is hung from the crown in the back),용잠/yongjam (a long hairpin/rod that has a dragon’s head at the end), and 대대/daedae (red colored silk sash with gold pattern worn around the waist and tied to the back of the 활옷/hwarot.


ap daenggi앞댕기




용잠용잠 머리

원삼/Wonsam is another type of bridal topcoat made by silk worn by royalty, noble women, and high ranking court ladies. during ceremonies. Commoners were allowed to wear 원삼/Wonsam. The color of the 원삼/Wonsam, however, depicted the wearer’s rank. For example, the color gold/yellow was worn by empresses, red by queens, magenta by princess consorts and concubines, and green by princesses and the wives of 양반/yangban. Commoners also wore green, but they were only allowed to wear green for their wedding ceremonies.


당의/Dangui is another type of upper garment worn by queens, queen mothers, princesses, and court ladies during ceremonial occasions. The only difference between the 당의/dangui of royalty and court ladies is the gold pattern on royalty’s 당의/dangui (and on the 치마/chima) known as 금박/geumbak (which could only be worn by royalty).  당의/dangui is usually worn on top of the 저고리/jeogori.

당의김민서 pattern

홍룡포/Hongryongpo is the everyday clothes decorated by gold patterns that was worn by the king. 홍룡포/Hongryongpo is red, because back then the King was not allowed to wear gold due to the Chinese’s influence. It was worn with a hat known as 익선관/ikseongwan and 각대/gakdae (belt-look above in Accessories).  Fun fact: When the Chinese was weakened politically, King Kojong changed his title from King to Emperor in 1897, thus he started to wear 황포/hwangpo (emperor’s every day clothes that was gold).



철릭/Cheollik is a type of clothing worn by kings, military officials, and other various officers which is usually worn with 사모samo  or 전립/jeonrip (look above in Headgear for Men).


Present Day:

In today’s age, Korean hanboks are more modern and simplified.They are now worn based on the wearer’s personal taste and style, and not according to the wearer’s class, profession, or social class like in the olden days.Korean hanboks are now only worn during special holidays, festivities, certain birthdays, weddings, special anniversaries, and special events-such as 추석/Chuseok, 설날/Seollal, a child’s 1st birthday, and an adult’s 60th birthday.

However, hanboks are still the casual wear in villages or districts where the traditional ways of life are maintained such as Cheonghak-dong on Mount Jirisan.There are also historical sights and museums such as the Korean Folk Village and Gyeongbokgung Palace in South Korea in which workers wear traditional Korean hanboks and give visitors insight on the Korean traditional way of life.

Even though traditional Korean hanboks are not as commonly worn as they were before, they are still a way for those like myself to show pride and embrace their Korean heritage.

Memento Mori

In my Honors English class, my classmates and I are reading A Room With A View. Recently, we had to do a presentation on something related to the Victorian Era. We were given a list of topics, and I picked memento mori thinking it had to do with somebody named Mori..Boy, was I wrong. It is about death and photography…So, let’s learn a little bit about the Victorian era.

*If the thought of death or seeing pictures of the deceased disturbs you, do NOT read on.

Mortality rates were high during the Victorian era due to diseases, poor hygiene, and the lack of medicine and vaccines.

Photography was expensive during its infancy in the Victorian era. At first, only the wealthy could afford photographs, but it later became more affordable to the middle class in the late 1800’s. Memento mori was a photograph taken to keep the memories of the deceased alive, and was often the only picture taken of the deceased because of the cost. Memento mori is Latin for “Remember you will die.” Memento moris were taken to remind the living that they would also die one day.


When a family member died, the surviving family members would take a photograph of the corpse in a pose as if they were still alive. The deceased would be arranged in his/her own natural setting. A baby would be positioned in a nursery. Children were posed as if they were playing with toys or sleeping in bed. Adults, however, were more commonly posed in a chair or sometimes braced on specifically designed frames. And often times, family members would be a part of the photograph. The corpse would be positioned with the other family members as if everything was normal.





Coffins were rarely shown in the picture, because the idea of the memento mori was to make the deceased person look alive-only sleeping or lost in thought. Sometimes the eyes would be propped open, pupils would be painted on to the picture, and/or a rosy tint would be added to the cheeks of the deceased.



The wealthy often times dressed up in odd clothing and pose in theatrical settings for their own entertainment.



You might think to yourself, “Wow, that is pretty weird!” In the Victorian era, this was perfectly normal. Someday in the future, the future generations will notice something that is perfectly normal to us as strange to them. It’s amazing how the world changes over time.

Gumiho: Legend of the Nine-Tailed Fox

구미호/Gumiho is a Korean folk legend of a legendary fox. The legend first originated centuries ago in China.The Korean gumiho shares similar characteristics to the Chinese huli jing and Japananese kitsune. The Chinese huli jing and Japanese kitsune, however, are depicted ambiguously while the Korean gumiho is often depicted as being malicious. Koreans view the gumiho as a purely evil creature.

A gumiho is a nine-tailed fox (구/gu=nine) that is bad by nature. According to the legend, foxes that live a thousand years become gumihos. Gumihos transform themselves as beautiful women in order to seduce men and then, eat their livers or hearts (depending on the legend).

Fox in Korean is 여우 (pronounced yeo-ooh).



There are many variations of this legend. Another variation of the legend is that a gumiho can permanently become human by abstaining from ingesting a human’s liver/heart for a thousand day period. Another states that if a gumiho can permanently remain human if it eats a liver per day for a thousand days, otherwise it will turn into bubbles.

There are quite a few Korean dramas and movies involving gumihos (and the legends) such as The Fox with Nine Tails (영화/movie), The Gumiho Family (영화/movie)Yobi, The Five Tailed Fox (animated movie), My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (드라마/drama-my personal favorite), Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho (드라마/drama), and The Thousandth Man (드라마/drama).

the fox with nine tails구미호 가족Yobi

My Girlfriend is a Gumihothe thousand man

grudge; the revolt of gumiho


Today is Easter. Heute is Ostern. 오늘은 부활절이다.

It is the day of the Easter bunny, Easter candy and chocolate, Easter egg hunts, and dying and decorating Easter eggs.






However, Easter is also the day Jesus resurrected from the dead. The true meaning and purpose of Easter is to celebrate his resurrection.

Easter also is the end of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation, and spiritual discipline. Lent starts Ash Wednesday and ends Easter Sunday. Easter is always celebrated the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon.

On Easter, most Christians go to Easter church services. Families also often have Easter dinners or lunches. For example, my family had an Easter lunch (since my dad has to work in the day). We had ham (actually it was turkey ham), mash potatoes, and carrots. For dessert, we had dutch apple pie topped with rocky road ice cream (which was delicious by the way).

easter dinner


Happy Easter everyone! Frohe Ostern! 부활절을 잘 보내세요!

Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March or Idus Martii in Latin. March 15. The day Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. In the Julian calendar in which we use, March is the third month. March in the old Roman calendar, however, is the first month. The old Roman calendar has its own way of counting the days, which is somewhat complicated. The Romans did not count the days like we do, instead they count backwards from three points of the month: the Kalends (the first day of the month), the Nones (the fifth (the other months) or seventh day (only in March, May, July, August) of the month), and the Ides (the thirteenth (the other months) or fifteenth (only in March, May, July, August) of the month).

Anyways, let’s get back to Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar was stabbed to death (28 times) at the Senate by as many as 30 conspirators (the number varies). This assassination was led by Brutus and Cassius. Earlier that morning/day, his wife, Calpurnia, begged him not to go to the Senate because of the dreams she had about him (concerning his death). He was advised not to go, but he did not listen. “Beware the Ides of March.”

After his assassination, Caesar’s heir (his great-nephew-Octavian which he adopted to become the heir)) became the first Roman emperor. He later became known as Augustus Caesar. On the fourth year anniversary of the death of his great-uncle, Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar had 300 senators who were involved with the assassination and also allying with Lucius (long story-google it) executed.

White Day

해피 화트데이! Happy White Day everyone! Many of you may be asking, “What exactly is White Day?” Well my dear readers, let me explain.

White Day is celebrated on March 14, one month after Valentine’s Day. It is celebrated in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. White Day (ホワイトデーHowaito-de)originated in Japan; it was first celebrated in 1978. It was started by the National Confectionary Industry Association on the thought that the men should give back to the women that gave them chocolate and gifts on Valentine’s Day. This holiday has not always been known as White Day. A candy company known as Ishimura Manseido also started to produce marshmallow treats for people to give on this holiday, which lead to the holiday’s original name, Marshmallow Day. Later on, confectionary companies started to produce white chocolate for this holiday and the name White Day was eventually given.

marshmallow heartswhite chocolate

On Valentine’s Day, girls and women in Japan give chocolates and other gifts to men and boys as an expression of love, courtesy, or simply, social obligation. Chocolates are put into three separate categories: giri choco, honmei choco, and tomo choco. Giri choco is obligatory or courtesy chocolate. For example, women would give their superiors and male co-workers giri choco (basically to any male that one does not have any romantic feelings for). Honmei choco is chocolate given to a man a woman loves or is serious about. Tomo choco is chocolate women give to their male friends (that they are NOT serious/in love with). Tomo choco, however, is not as common as giri choco and honmei choco. Handmade chocolate is usually preferred over store-bought chocolate, because of the thought, emotion, and effort put into the chocolate.

Then on White Day, the men who received chocolates are expected to return the favor and give gifts back (to “answer” or “reply” back to the women) such as white chocolates, dark chocolates, candies, cookies, marshmallows, jewelry, accessories, stuffed animals, and lingerie. There is a recited rule on returning a gift known as sunbai gaeshi/“triple the return,” the return gift should be twice or triple times the cost of the Valentine’s gift received. If a woman spends $5, the man is expected to spend $15. Or if a woman spends $50, the man is expected to spend $150.

Japan chocolate hearts

Japan chocolate

White Day gifts

In South Korea, White Day (화이트데이 Hwai-teu-deh-ee) is basically the same as Japan’s White Day except  chocolates and gifts are usually only exchanged between couples and lovers. School children, however, often give lollipops and other candies to their friends and classmates. When women and girls give men chocolates and gifts on Valentine’s Day,  the men return the favor on White Day. There is also another holiday that goes along with Valentine’s Day and White Day for all the people who did not receive any chocolates or gifts, which is known as Black Day (April 14) (I’ll make a post on Black Day later on). Anyways, gifts given on South Korea are commonly candies and sweets  (and of course, flowers). Chupa Chups lollipops are the most selling candies during White Day.

Happy White Day

화이트데이 캔디

화이트데이 헬로키티


이민호 화이트데이

This last picture of Lee Min Ho, I randomly came across on the internet. I thought this was pretty relevant. And also the fact that Lee Min Ho is very handsome…

If any of you are wondering (probably not), I did not receive anything for White Day. Mainly because, I do not know many people from my area who is particularly interested in the Korean culture, Japanese culture, Chinese culture, etc. that know about White Day (especially the young men). However, my dad did get me flowers and chocolate for Valentine’s Day so that makes up for it.


Löwendenkmal is a lion monument in Luzern, Schweiz (Lucerne, Switzerland). In June of 2012, I was fortunate enough to visit this monument. So let me tell you the history of Löwendenkmal…Image

History: This monument is a dying lion, designed to commemorate the fallen Swiss guards who lost their lives in the French Revolution serving King Louis XVI. These Swiss guard were massacred in 1792 when they were protecting the royal family from revolutionaries attack on the Tuileres Palace (approximately 760 died). One of the guards on leave, Karl Pfyffer von Altishofen, wanted to create a monument to commemorate his fellow guards. He started to save money in 1818, and Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvalsen designed the lion monument. The monument was hewn in 1820-1821 by German stone mason Lucas Ahorn in sandstone rock. The lion is impaled by a spear and covering a shield. Next to the lion is another shield bearing the Swiss coat of arms. The latin inscription above the lion reads, “Helvetorium fedai ac Virtuti.” This translate to, “To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss.” Below the lion, is the inscription of the soldiers names and the number of fallen and surviving soldiers. Fallen-DCCLX(760). Survived-CCL(350).

If you are ever in Switzerland, das Löwendenkmal is definitely a worthy sight to see. Mark Twain praised this particular monument as, “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

Meine Ehre heißt Treue

So earlier today, I had the privilege to help out with the Battle of the Bulge re-enactment. I was walking through some of the German barracks and other German buildings, when I noticed a sign that read, “Meine Ehre heißt Treue.” I became very curious about this (of course), so I decided to look it up.

*Note-the ß in heißt is NOT a capitalized b (B). The ß is the German letter eszett, which is used for the double s (heißt=heisst).

Meine Ehre heißt Treue means My honor is loyalty.  Literally, Meine Ehre heißt Treue means My honor is called loyalty. However, this is actually an idiom that non-native Germans will not understand (myself included.) If my honor is loyalty does not make sense to you, think of it as For me, my honor is my loyalty or my honor is my dignity.

Meine Ehre heißt Treue was the motto for the German Schutzstaffel (also known as SS), which was used to pledge their oath to Adolph Hitler. Brief background information: The Schutzstaffel was a special (and elite) military unit that was formed in April 1925 (in Germany) by Hitler and the Nazi Party, so Hitler could use the men as his personal bodyguards.

I’m not going to go in depth about this, because World War II is a huge topic to talk about. There’s a lot of history with it, and it’s history that we all ought to learn-even minor things like the meaning behind words. Go out and explore the world, you never know what you will see, who you will run into, what you will experience, or what you will learn.