Why are people falling in love with Korean culture?
and how much I regretted not knowing about this culture earlier.
What comes to you when you think of Korea? The Korean culture? Korean food? Please do not say BTS and Ramen.! Yes I know that's the only few things a lot of us have been exposed to. But have you tried to dig deeper? Not just Korean culture, have you tried to dig deep into the roots you come from?
I hadn't done it either, I suggest you try to at least learn a little about your culture. Why? You ask. I'm someone who loves history, stories of brave soldiers, food that my great great great grandmother cooked for her family, and how families lived in the era that had no Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. I come from a nuclear Indian family. In India people still follow a lot of customs on different occasions, and every time I used to see something new happening around me I used to run to my Grandmother and ask her, and she was always very happy to answer all my questions and filled my brain with her childhood stories. But at the same time when she grew up in India, there was another side of the world as well that grew old along with time. But I don't have anyone from that side of the world to tell me the stories. And I’m sure there will be so many interesting stories grandparents all over the world will have to tell their grandkids. So Think ahead, you should also have stories from your grandparents to share it your kids and their kids when you become old. It wouldn’t be fun to tell kids just the stories of you got the new iPhone on the days of its launch or how your life become meaningless the day all the social media was down all over the world.
We know Korea is divided into two parts North and South, and we will talk about South Korea today. I was exposed to the Korean culture by my younger sister, who initially pulled my mother by making her watch multiple K-drama, meantime I was completely immersed into Turkish drama. I was not new to Korean Music culture as my sister is a BTS Army and also listened to a few of Jackson wang’s music.
My mother is someone who never watched any Indian soap, but I had seen fewer English Series catching her eye. I’m an all-time nerd for Big bang theory, Friends, and sometimes to entertain myself I watched KKK. Even before covid changed the world, K-drama had gotten into my mother's head. To add to this Covid hit and because she spent so much time at home, I did remember her telling me she has watched at least 90% of K-drama in Netflix India. And I used to see her effort of learning the new language and trying to know what their culture was.
That didn't stop, she used actually suggest to my sister some of the shows she has watched and used to talk so much about these shows. I was so surprised to see my mother talk so much about Korean culture and she even started making plans to travel to Korea when things got normal. One fine day she and my sister forced me to watch this series, which actually was a turning edge of my life. “Itaewon class”. That story by far is one of the best things I have watched. So this was the stepping stone for me to enter the Korean culture and next came the music from the Band EXO. I’m actually an ARMY but still, EXO’s music and the meaning behind it blew my mind.
Slowly I started digging into the History part of the Korean culture and trust me it is so much different than any Asian culture. Did you know just in march of 2020 just when the pandemic hit, Indian Netflix doubled its profile compared to the last year.? And the reason was not Freinds or Big bang theory. That was the time when K-Drama increased its popularity. This was not Gen-Z or Gen-Y’s seeing the Drama’s, it was also the boomers who saw so many of these shows. So what made it so popular?
To be very frank, I do know Indian’s and their obsession with Fair-skinned people. I would say 50% of the people who watched some of these shows were just because all these dramas were filled with “Hrithik Roshan” kinda guys in it. Cute, handsome, and off-course amazing body. And the rest of the nerds like me watched it for the storyline, acting, and to learn how different are these people from we Indian’s.
The answer to these questions is still in search. Something that is very evident about Korean culture is, being respectful to elders even if related to us. I’m not saying the rest of the world is not respectful to their elders, If your culture allows you to drink with an elderly person, do you just gulp a drink, or do you turn to left or right and then gulp the drink? I mean we do drink in India, but definitely not with our elders. I mean to say that father-son or mother-daughter having a drink together is not a very common thing in India. Not only in Korean parents drink with their kids, but I did see the kids showing the sign of respect while taking the drink in front of them.
India is known for its vast variety of food, sweets, and non-alcoholic drinks that we make from scratch. Korean food has no less of varieties, even their vegetarian options are a long list. Even with all of us being from Asian countries, the indigents that we use have so many variations and changes to it. One of the simplest dish ‘pickles’. Both Indian and Korean pickle is packed with flavor, but the methods, spices, and fermentation we use to make them are completely different.
Everything about the korean culutre seems very much like home to me. Some of the typical bond that korean parents and kids have are the kind I exprience in my real life. So is this why this culutre appeals to me a lot? Maybe its lot more than that. All that I can say it that our langages may be different, our food might be less speicer, but there is a imaginary string that has pulled not just me but so many people around the world to this culture.