Coming of age is a person’s transition from childhood to adulthood. The age and nature of this transition vary among different societies. It can be a simple event or can be part of a ritual celebrated at different times of a person’s life depending on the belief of that country. This change is usually associated with the age of maturity whether physical, mental or emotional.
In South Korea, Monday of the third week of May is the “Coming-of-Age Day”. Everyone turning 20 years old at that year celebrates that day. When a person reaches this state of his/her life, he/she gains the freedom to do whatever it is that he/she wants (the choice to marry, to drink alcohol, to smoke, to vote, to drive, etc.). Alongside the independence that the coming-of-age celebrators acquire also comes the responsibility of being an adult in their country.
Recently, due to Western influences, it has become a tradition for Coming-of-Age celebrators in South Korea to receive three gifts – flowers, perfume and a kiss. In some places, a traditional coming-of-age ceremony is also held. This tradition has been in run even before Goryeo dynasty. During this event, celebrators wear traditional Korean clothing together with accessories. Boys wear gat, a traditional Korean hat made of bamboo and horsehair, and girls do their hair in chignon with binyeo, a Korean traditional ornamental hairpin.
Today, those South Koreans who were born in 1992 become the new generation of adult in their country. Congratulations to those who will be celebrating this day. May you all become successful in the paths that you will choose.