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Hey Mom, I made some bibimbap and got married!

by Alice Y.

I was never one to believe horoscopes, but I guess the stars just had it that I was meant to be married off during the first cultural trip of the Chonnam National University International summer session. Well, not necessarily the stars, but more the weather; due to inclement weather and heavy rains our first cultural trip ended up as a trip to Gwangju’s Confucius Center. There, we learned about traditional wear and in the afternoon, we visited a kitchen where we learned how to make bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish.

A student showing the large embroided sleeve of a traditional wedding dress.

In this photograph, you can see the intricate stitching on the sleeves as well as the red chima which is meant to signify wealth and good fortune.

At the Confucius Center, the staff taught use about the components of a hanbok, the traditional Korean dress. We were told the significance of colors on a hanbok, such as the symbolism within a bride’s hanbok. The geese on the jeogori (저고리, also known as the top jacket) symbolizes fertility and the red on chima (치마, the bottom skirt) holds wishes for wealth and good fortune. I was chosen as a lucky volunteer to don the traditional dress of the bride and participate in a mock marriage ceremony.

Student standing with instructor while wearing a colorful green and red traditional dress.

After the ceremony, I was lucky enough to grab a quick photograph with the staff member who helped me put on this beautiful traditional wedding hanbok!

In the afternoon, we were able to visit a kitchen where a chef explained how to assemble a bowl of bibimbap as well as the importance of each ingredient to the health of the consumer. For example, including the lotus root is a means to improve digestions and carrots are used to help eye health. The design is meant to mimic the look of a colorful flower and so the ingredients are to be palced with care. Next weekend, we’ll be taking a trip up to Seoul from Gwangju to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace near Gwanghwamun Square where we’ll be able to walk the palace grounds and learn more about the Joseon Dynasty.

A bowl of bibimbap. Noodles topped with shredded vegetables and seaweed.

Here, you can see my bowl of bibimbap in which I cut and cooked all the vegetables. The top garnish is seaweed which is a rich source of minerals and vitamins

About the blogger

Alice Y. is studying abroad on the Chonnam National Univeristy program Gwangju, South Korea.

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