Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Korea - Folk Village

Korean folk village is located near the city called "Suwon" in Yongin. It is supposed to be one of the beautiful cities in Korea. Nowadays it is well developed, but it still retains the mountains full of trees and the smell of the old. I had not been to the folk village in ages...literally not since I was six or seven. I remembered almost nothing of this place other than few activities we did...the food and certain sounds.
Man and Women wooden posts
These wooden posts are male and female...they protect. Koreans believed in local gods...and was a very superstitious lot.
The grain mill is where people used to grind the rice, barley or other grains to make bread-like things...especially the rice cakes.
Grain Mill
There were very little number of people when we were at the folk village. Since we hardly saw people, it was almost like I was re-living the past...walking amongst the houses on the small streets. There were cicadas everywhere, cook breeze, the shadow from the trees...
Old Korean house
This is a traditional Korean folk dancing. Lots of playing of the gongs and drums while the men twirled the ribbon atop their head.
From the silk worms and other materials, women of old had to thread their own cloth. This is an actual demonstration of one such weaving machine.
Silk weaver
I've always been fascinated by the oriental medicine so I dragged my companion to the old pharmacy. In the backyard, I found these rows of actual ginseng farm. Who would have thought!
ginseng farm
The typical pharmacy of old would have these bags of labeled medicine hanging from the ceiling. Even from far away, one can smell that special fragrance emanating from the boiling herbs. I can still recall this small of my childhood with fondness.
old pharmacy
Perhaps many might not believe, herbal medicine is based on several thousand years of practice and recording. It is hard to understand why people mistrust it so. It is overall better for one's body. Who's to mistrust several thousand years of practice while modern medicine has been only around for few hundred years?
old pharmacy
I think this was a cherry tree, but it could be something else. I might have taken few and eaten them if it had not been so unripened.
cherry tree?
Only very few, perhaps only two people are able to perform this trick. This man is one of the living treasures of Korea. He performs on the rope all different types of tricks. It starts with simple walking from one end to the other.
rope performer
Then he cracks jokes on the other hand then the tricks become progressively harder. He jumps and sits on the rope, even kicks and turns. Needless to say my heart was somersaulting with his body.   
rope performer
One can watch the traditional nobleman's wedding ceremony here. Here are three traditional shoes to be worn by the bride and her two helpers.
Traditional wedding ceremony
Traditionally, (not in this ceremony since it is too hot and uncomfortable to do so) the bride wears about seven layers of skirts, not to mention all else she has on her. She is also not supposed to look up from her hidden position. It is absolutely necessary for her to have helpers since she is required to go down and bow as well as participate in the ceremony without looking up.
Traditional wedding ceremony
Normally, a table laden with food and other assortments are laid in between bride and groom. They bow and partake in drinks. The ceremony leader reads certain passages...all the while, these two people might not even have ever set eyes on each other. Sometimes we are told that during the ceremony, they surreptitiously check out one another.
Traditional wedding ceremony
Another one of the living treasures. This is one who makes paper using certain type of plant. It is told such hand made paper can last thousands of years. It is sad that there is no other to learn his trade. So many living treasures are now quite old and with no one else to carry on their skills. Are such traditions to be disappeared forever from Korea?  
traditional paper maker
At the end of wedding ceremony, groom rides donkey or horse and the bride rides her little carriage to bride's house. The couple are to stay there for a month or so then the real marriage at groom's house begins afterward.
end of wedding ceremony
This contraption uses water power to grind the grain. It was a fascinating device. When the water fills the wooden scoop, it is lowered then the end of the scoop hits the stone slab with grain with large thump. Water is emptied then cycle begins again.          

More information about Korean Folk village

Water mill