A few close friends recently completed their year of teaching in Korea and returned home to the US. Although it was sad to see them leave, their last few months here were full of new adventures in Seoul. They made a list of things they wanted to accomplish before leaving The Land of Kimchi and I am glad they were serious in completing this to-do list. One Saturday, instead of heading into Seoul to experience the plethora of shopping and dining opportunities that we love, we ventured to a new part of the city and found our way to a traditional Korean hanok (home) where we (for less than $20) learned how to properly drink and serve tea and dressed in hanbok clothing.
The hanbok style of dress is an important part of Korean culture and tradition. Up until about a century ago the hanbok was worn daily but now it is only used for special occasions. Throughout history the different variations of hanbok dress distinguished levels of importance and power within society. Most commoners wore white and could only dress in colorful clothes during special celebrations or festivals. The upper class proudly wore bright colored hanbok pieces every day. If you are interested, you can learn more here.
I would highly recommend a trip to Yoo's Family house in Seoul. My friend arranged the cultural experience during the week and we met someone from the house at the subway exit closest to the location on a Saturday morning. He brought us directly to the house where we were met by the friendly family members who served us tea and explained proper tea etiquette. After the delicious green tea we were dressed in beautiful hanbok costumes and then set free to stage ridiculous photo shoots all around the sun drenched outside garden. It was a memorable morning and it was a pleasant surprise to find a taste of traditional Korean culture tucked away among the modern bustling streets of Seoul.