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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Grant

The Colorful History of Hanbok

A hundred years ago, the streets in Korea were full of men and women wearing hanbok. It was the everyday clothing for commoners and royalty, and was also the preferred outfit for special occasions. Now, hanbok has become Korea’s national costume, and is mostly worn during festive seasons.

Hanbok is made up of jeogori (upper garment) and chima (skirt for women) or baji (pants for men). The upper garment is tight, while the lower garment is long and flowy. This means that when the wearer moves, the hanbok moves along too, creating smooth and graceful curves.

Hanbok is also known for its striking colors. This is because hanbok is colored with natural dyes, using ingredients such as red flower petals to create bright, attractive colors. The way hanbok is made is similar to the Korean way of life – simple and natural. Maybe that is why hanbok is able to draw people into a sense of awe and wonder.

Different colors and patterns on hanbok symbolize different meanings. Unmarried women wore yellow to show their maidenhood, while couples wore red during their wedding ceremony to symbolize good fortune and wealth. Besides that, patterns such as dragons and tigers indicated royalty or nobility.

According to Visit Korea, some places in Korea still maintain a traditional lifestyle. In places such as Chunghak-dong on Moun Jirisan, villagers wear hanbok as everyday clothing.

So, if you want a glimpse into the past, maybe you should start planning a trip to Korea. Just make sure to pack your hanbok so you can blend in with the crowd.


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