New Year's Day important ritual for Korean families
By Jeff Chung
By Jeff Chung
As 2006 starts, we all reflect on the past year and tackle our New Year's resolutions. KBFD will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. We have programming, many events and promotions planned for you, so please stay tuned to this column.
Most people do not realize that we have been in business for this long. The first 15 years weren't easy for my family as we had put all our eggs in one basket — KBFD. Some say that we made the right decision, but hindsight is always 20-20.
Investing all we had in KBFD was my father's commitment to the community in Hawai'i. He wanted to promote Korean culture, help second- and third-generation Koreans to maintain their culture, and empower the Korean community. As the only locally owned and operated station in the state, we faced many challenges; we are still as committed and promise to continue our efforts in 2006.
New Year's Day is the mother of all holidays in Korea — so important that it's reflected in Korean dramas and other programs. Here's what happens on a New Year's Day in a Korean home.
Early-morning, people get dressed (no shorts or T-shirts) depending on how conservative your family is. A few people dress in traditional hanbok. You then visit your parents and grandparents. The elders sit on cushions on the floor, and you bow respectfully to them and say "Se-heh Bok Man-hee Badu-seyo," which means "to wish lots of good fortune in the New Year." Parents or elders then give each child up to college age an envelope of money. The amount is not significant — usually enough for a nice lunch. Then it is breakfast with the family.
The first meal of the New Year is always dduk gook, a simple dish of rice cakes in a broth topped with seaweed, egg slices and small pieces of beef.
Most Korean restaurants serve dduk gook year-round. In Hawai'i, some Korean restaurants serve it free on New Year's day. Dduk gook carries a whole slew of meanings. White rice signifies a pure, clean start to the New Year.
In Korea, with the passing of the new calendar year, everyone ages one year, regardless of his or her birth date. So, your legal age for drinking is marked by Jan. 1 of your 20th birthday year. An old saying goes: You don't age one year on January 1 unless you have had a bowl of dduk gook. (For those who don't want to age another year, not eating a bowl of dduk will not prevent the number from advancing.)
The shape of dduk has several meanings. Dduk is made in a tube the size of a large carrot — meaning that you will prosper. Cutting it into oval shapes mimics the form of an old Korean coin. Therefore, you will amass more wealth in the New Year. There are many different types of dduk. Koreans use the simplest form to show humility. Koreans want to go into the New Year with a humble mind and pure heart.
Se-heh Bok Man-hee Badu-seyo!
Jeff Chung is the general manager of KBFD, which televises all of the K-dramas. If you have a K-drama question or comment, call KBFD at 521-8066.
'SWEET SPY' TAKES ON WORLD OF INTERNATIONAL ESPIONAGE
'A FAREWELL TO TEARS'
EPISODES 33 AND 34
Tonight at 7: Jung-woo is busy with the noodle factory and Seo-young feels neglected. Jung-woo goes to see Seo-young at her cafe and finds she was on an arranged date. Il-ho finds out Yeo-jin is working with Sung-min at the noodle factory. Yeon-sim invites Seo-young's blind date to the house.
Tonight at 8: Sung-kyu leaves home after an argument with his wife, and moves in with Sung-jae. With Hae-sun's help, Jung-woo gets a spot on a shopping network. Seo-young brings Jung-woo's baby picture to Hae-sun and asks if he's her son.
EPISODES 1 AND 2
This new 20-episode drama centers on the Seoul police department's special investigations unit. Lee Soon-ae, a low-ranking but dedicated officer, is the drama's heroine. When Han Yoo-il, a mysterious spy, comes to South Korea on an espionage mission, he is cited by Soon-ae for a traffic violation. When she forgets to give back Yoo-il's high-tech espionage pen, she gets pulled into his world of covert operations. And when the local special investigations unit gets involved, its new chief, Kang Joon, and female officer Park become entangled as well.
STARRING : NAM SANG-MI, DENNIS O'NEAL, LEE JOO-HYUN
Airs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:50 p.m., re-airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 3 p.m.
Friday at 7:50 p.m.: Soon-ae is a dedicated officer who became a cop after her detective husband was killed in a traffic accident. She unwittingly gets entangled with a spy.
Saturday at 7:50p.m.: Detective Jo and Shim are awestruck by their beautiful new colleague Eun-joo, who makes an unforgettable impression on the department. Kang Joon visits Soon-ae and tells her to come see him whenever she needs help. Yoo-il searches the police personnel files to find Soon-ae.
EPISODES 7 AND 8
Wednesday at 7:50 p.m.: Ji-soo and Dong-joo meet the day of the first snowfall and he finally tells her that he loves her. Ji-soo tells her friend Joo-kyung that she wants to move out of Ki-tae's house. She also tells Ki-tae's mom that she won't be going abroad with him. Tae-hee tells Ji-soo that she likes someone but doesn't tell her his name.
Thursday at 7:50 p.m.: Ji-soo turns down Ki-tae's proposal. Ki-tae gets angry and gets into a fight and is taken to the police station. Ki-tae and Dong-joo both rush to a hospital when Sister Theresa's hospitalized. She tells Dong-joo that he should not compete with Ki-tae since Ki-tae gave Dong-joo his kidney.
Monday and Tuesday at 7:50 p.m.: Special two-part drama. A Korean doctor working in Vietnam falls in love with a Vietnamese girl, but many obstacles lie on their path to happiness.