South Korea: Did you know?                                     

  • The long form name for South Korea is Taehan-min'guk. The short form is Han'guk which means “land of the Han.” Han may have its origins in the native root for “great [leader]” (similar to the title “khan”).

 

  • The South Korean National Information Agency estimates that 14% of the people between the ages of 9 and 12 have an internet addiction. In 2011, South Korea passed a law called the Shutdown or Cinderella Law that bans anyone younger than 16 from online game sites. The law is largely ignored.

 

  • Instead of electric or gas radiators and heaters, Koreans often have heated floors called ondol (warm stone). The heat is passed through pipes under the floor. This heating system goes back to the Koguryo (or Goguryeo) Dynasty (37–668 BC). In South Korea, more than 90% of the houses have ondol. People eat, sleep and watch TV on the warm floor.

 

  • In Korea, babies are considered one-year old at birth.

 

  • Sejong, located about 120 km (75 miles) south of Seoul, is being developed as a new capital.

 

  • Etiquette tip: It is customary to remove your shoes in homes and places of worship.

 

  • Red ink is the symbol of death. When a Korean’s name is written in red ink, it means that that person is about to die or is already dead.

 

  • The number 4 (which sounds like the word “death”) is unlucky. Avoid giving gifts in fours (for example: a bouquet of 4 flowers).

 

  • The volcano Halla (elevation 1,950 meters) has not erupted in many centuries.

 

  • South Korea is mostly surrounded by water and has 2,413 kilometers (1,499 miles) of coast line.