Saturday, October 13, 2012

Raising the (Hanok) Roof

Saturday and the weather is grand in Seoul. One of my “online-only” buddies is Robert Fouser, a man who has devoted considerable effort in an attempt to save the hanok, the Korean traditional house.

On FB he announced that he was having a “roof-beam” ceremony for his hanok, so we decided to go. Grabbed a cab and got near where the site is, and then wandered around trying to find it (curse you IOS 6 and your lack of a Google Maps app).

On the way over we saw a traditional Korean band in the middle of the street and I joked that it was probably on its way to the ceremony, but in fact it was already dancing. It took about 15 minutes to find the place (with the help of a friendly Korea), and lo-and-behold, the band was there!

We watched the ceremony… some speeches, close friends bowing three times before a pigs head and then stuffing money into its mouth. Once the pigs mouth was full, the beam was revealed to be on the front of the table (with some Chinese characters – hanja – written on it, definitely for good luck. I should note that the pig is also a sign of good luck). The roof-beam was tied with two white banners, and the MC and various important people stuffed these tied areas with the money from the pigs mouth, as well as money that other guests gave them. Then the beam was raised to the roof, placed, and hammered down.

After that, it was pork and makkoli all around (Yvonne had some of the pork, but I had already eaten a tuna kimbap. We both avoided the booze.^^). I talked briefly to Robert, and then we wandered away to a bookstore.

 It was a cool ceremony, and I immortalized it on video, here:


Bookstore was cool also, but what you gonna say about a culpa and dropping 35 bucks on books?^^

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