Happy Busday 2: Turtle Village in Hongsung
Yesterday was Hangeul Day, a Korean holiday celebrating the invention of the Korean alphabet by King Sejong back in 1446. Alex and many other spouses had the day off, so many of us attended MAFRA’s (Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) Happy Busday event. This time we went to Turtle Village in Hongsung, about two hours southwest of Seoul. Traffic was pretty horrendous, because of the holiday.
When we arrived at Turtle Village, we were greeted by the village leader, who very enthusiastically introduced his village to us. The village is called Turtle Village because the Boge Mountain in the center of the village is in the shape of a turtle with front and hind legs fully extended. Many of the villagers farm rice and make rice cakes and rice drinks to sell.
After a traditional Korean lunch, we went to the village’s “school” where scholars used to study and take the service entrance exams. We dressed in traditional scholarly robes (complete with a tall black hat) and separated into groups of men and women. We then learned traditional greeting etiquette (three different types of bowing: to your elders, to your peers, and to your subordinates/children). It was interesting to learn, but we were all uncomfortable in our robes under the hot sun!
We then learned how to write our names in Hangeul (having four syllables in my name proved to be very annoying! John and Joe had it easy with just one character!). After changing out of our robes, we had a chance to pound cooked rice into rice cake with a giant wooden mallet (it’s a good thing I’ve been pumping iron!). We had a chance to try some rice cake (very chewy, pretty good), but Lee Ann and Renee weren’t big fans after seeing how the rice cake was made (outside, under the hot sun, exposed to the elements).
It was a fun day trip outside of Seoul with our husbands. Rural Korea is really beautiful (wish we had a chance to explore more)! Thank you MAFRA for the tour! Happy Busday! (This still makes Alex smile.)