A Piece of Korean Culture – For Free

I have been trying to think of ways to expand my readership and thank current readers for sticking with me for over a year. My roommate suggested that I give something away for free. Great idea – everybody loves free stuff! So this week, I will hold a raffle. The details are explained below. All you need to know now is that it’s free. And when I say free, I really mean FREE. You don’t have to pay anything to play or to win. I won’t ask for any information other than an email address in case you win. I won’t bombard you with emails for participating or share your email with anyone.

If this is your first time at A Southerner Abroad, be sure to check out my Top Ten posts list. It’s a great way to jump right to the posts that everyone is talking about. If you like what you find here, please spread the word by liking and sharing on Facebook.

I’ve been searching high and low for weeks to find the perfect raffle prize. I wanted something something beautiful, unique to Korea. Most importantly, I wanted something with an interesting story. It took a while, but I finally found it. For a chance to win an interesting and beautiful piece of Korean culture, read on.

One of my favorite pastimes in Korea is visiting historical sites – especially the traditional markets. Seomun Market in Daegu, for example, is a huge traditional market that has been operating for hundreds of years. Last year I visited and wrote a post about it. Although these markets are inundated with cheap t-shirts and socks, there are a few hidden gems – places that sell interesting items. I stumbled upon one of those places yesterday.

Seomun Market Cultural Shop

The old woman pictured above is a third-generation shop owner at Seomun Market. Her stand is tucked into the corner of a large building that is dominated by fabric shops. My Korean friend explained to her that I was looking for something special, not the typical touristy items like key chains and postcards. I told her that I wanted something handmade in Korea. She pointed out several items that were interesting, but nothing was quite special enough. I decided to move on. As we were leaving, the woman called us back and pointed out some wooden ducks.

The ducks, which were reminiscent of hunting decoys, were carved from wood and painted in bright colors. Most of the pairs were wrapped side-by-side in brightly colored cloth. I wasn’t sure what to make of these dolls.

Korean Wooden Ducks

My Korean friend explained that these ducks are part of an ancient Korean tradition. When a couple is married, ducks are a traditional wedding gift. Koreans believe that ducks bring peace, many children and good luck. But they have another, more interesting purpose. In Korea’s uber-conservative culture, the ducks are a way for husbands and wives to communicate to one another about sex without openly discussing it. They are displayed somewhere in the home – often on top of a TV or on a bookshelf.

Korean Wedding Ducks 2

If the ducks are displayed face-to-face, then sex is on that night.

Korean Wedding Ducks 4

If the female duck is facing away from the male duck, it means that the woman is upset with her husband or is not feeling well. No sex.

Every time I leave the room, somebody keeps putting the ducks like this....

Every time I leave the room, somebody rearranges the ducks like this. I’m pretty sure this is not one of the traditional Korean displays.

I told the shop owner that I was intrigued by the ducks, but that I didn’t want something that was made in a factory. I wanted a pair of ducks that were hand-carved and hand-painted in Korea. She reached behind the counter and produced two ducks that looked different than those on display. She told me that the ducks were made by her relative who lives in a town outside of Daegu. He has been making ducks his whole life. He personally carves and paints each one. He even makes the paint with which he decorates the ducks. Bingo! They were more expensive than the other ducks, of course, but you’re worth it!

Korean Wedding Ducks 1

The duck on the right is the female. Orange is a traditional female wedding color. The strings around the beak are a reminder to remain silent and obedient to her husband.

Korean Wedding Ducks 5

The stamp is the craftsman’s personal stamp that he places on every duck.

Those ducks are beautiful – I want them!

These ducks would be a great decoration for your home or office. They are also a wonderful conversation piece. Best of all, I will send them to one lucky person absolutely free. I’ll even pay the shipping. This time next week, I’ll hold a raffle and choose one person to receive these ducks. If you want to be included in the raffle, then you only have to do two things:

Step 1: “Like” this post. Simply go to the bottom of the post and click the “Like” button. If you already have a WordPress, then your contact information will automatically be forwarded to me. If not, then be sure to include your email address when prompted so that I can contact you if you win.

Step 2: Share this post on Facebook. Tell your friends about my amazing blog! As I mentioned above, I want find more readers. By sharing this post, you’ll help me do just that. I hope you’ll be so kind as to share more of your favorite posts in the future.

Remember – I will not send you emails. I will not ask you for money. This is a no-strings-attached offer!

Instructions

It’s so easy! Just do those two things and you could win!

Until next time.

-Taft

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

18 thoughts on “A Piece of Korean Culture – For Free

  1. AngO says:

    Cute! I lived in Korea for a year and was never aware of that…

    • wtl0715 says:

      Yeah, same here! I’ve been here for a little over a year and had no clue. It’s definitely a cool little secret (to outsiders, at least). Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I had seen the ducks at shops when I was living in Korea but never thought to get the story behind them. Very interesting post!

    • wtl0715 says:

      I think I only learned about these ducks from dumb luck alone. I bet the vast majority of foreigners here will never have a clue about them. Even my friends who have lived here for years were surprised to read this post. Thanks for reading!

  3. Ashley says:

    I knew the ducks were a common wedding present but I never knew why… this explains a lot!!

  4. nattyo84 says:

    Im loving your blog Taft! I actually bought my best friends these ducks for their wedding gift but wasnt aware of the sexy side so just sent them the link!

    • wtl0715 says:

      Nat, thanks for reading. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog! If you are just now learning about it, you have a year worth of posts to catch up on when you’re bored.

      I was surprised by the real story behind these ducks, too. There are probably so many other cool things in Korean culture that we’ll never know.

  5. Mark Rolin Murillo says:

    I would love to have those ducks! ^_^

  6. Lesley says:

    I worked in Korea for a while and was given a pair of wedding ducks – exactly like the ones pictured above – as a leaving present. The women in the office had all been very concerned for me as (although perfectly content as a happy career girl at the age of 35) they thought I should have married years earlier. Eight months later I was married, and within a month of that I was expecting my daughter. That was 32 years ago! We are still happily together and the ducks are on display in the dining room of our guest house. Strangely, though, another duck has appeared on the shelf and I can’t remember where it came from. Perhaps if I get another one to match it, my daughter, who is now in HER thirties, will find the same thing happening to her.

    • wtl0715 says:

      Lesley, thanks for a great story! The giveaway is long over, but I would be happy to send you a pair of ducks for your daughter. Email me your contact info if you’re interested. WTL0715(at)gmail(d0t)com.

  7. Rachel Wan says:

    Hello, I was wondering if you could get these ducks for me? I would pay for it and all. I need them for a performance on a korean tale next week. I really hope you can help me! You can contact me through my email, rachelwanweilin@gmail.com

    Thank you!

  8. Kelly says:

    Hi,

    I am currently stationed here in Korea and have been looking for non manufactured Wedding Ducks!! I can visit Seoul and the Market but i was wondering if you could help me find her, Specifically?and how much she was asking. the more descriptive the better!
    Thank you so much! They are beautiful!

    • wtl0715 says:

      Kelly,

      The woman whose shop I visited was in Seomun Market in Daegu. If you’re not familiar with Seomun, it is near downtown Daegu and has its own subway station. It’s a pretty huge market, so I wouldn’t really know how to tell you to get to the specific stand. What I can tell you is that it’s in one of the indoor sections that is dedicated to cultural stuff (lots of traditional clothing makers there).

      There are a couple of big stands near the back with lots of mass-produced stuff. The place where I bought ducks was near those, but only had ducks in a case.

      She was asking anywhere from $25-$100 per duck.

      I hope that helps!

      -Taft

      • Kelly says:

        Oh thats amazing. Thank you so much Taft! I really appreciate it. I love them and am excited to travel and take full advantage of what Korea has to offer.

    • Kelly says:

      I’m also from Eastern NC!! (Wilmington) Awesome Blog. Love reading all of your posts. The Korean ones are very interesting!

      • wtl0715 says:

        Oh cool! I flew back to the east coast and visited Wilmington a couple of months ago. It’s a great town. Thanks for reading — I’m glad you enjoy it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: