Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Koreans and Elders

Recently, we celebrated our grandmother's 90th Birthday party. Koreans customarily throw a big birthday party for the 60th birthday party called "hwangab." However, as people tend to live longer, less and less Koreans celebrate "hwangab," and will celebrate the 70th or 80th birthday party. Similar to a first birthday "dol" party, these parties celebrate life and are a big occasion among Koreans.

Here are some cultural tips that we can think of when socializing with the elderly.

Respecting your elders is a big deal among Koreans. When meeting a Korean person, you are expected to bow and greet the older person with respect. If you are sitting down, you are also expected to stand up when greeting them and this also applies when the older person leaves. When dining with an older person, it is respectable to offer the first serving to them and wait until they have taken the first bite before you begin eating. If the older person offers you a drink, you are supposed to politely accept with both hands (left hand on your right arm).

If you know any more, please share!