Jeju (city) Local Customs

  • A Cliche Jeju House. Pic: Aaron Irving.
    A Cliche Jeju House. Pic: Aaron Irving.
    by Hmmmm
  • A roof gourd. Pic: Aaron Irving
    A roof gourd. Pic: Aaron Irving
    by Hmmmm
  • Tolharubang: Jeju Island Min Seok Maeul. Pic: ADI
    Tolharubang: Jeju Island Min Seok Maeul....
    by Hmmmm

Most Recent Local Customs in Jeju (city)

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    Jeju Do Tolharubang or Stone Grandfather Guardians

    by Hmmmm Updated Feb 4, 2004

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    Tolharubang: An Orange Orchard. Pic: Aaron Irving

    .Jeju Island; a place of myths and legends, is an island, so rich in the beauty of natural scenery and exotic in culture, that it keeps attracting tourists both from home and abroad. Among the things representing traditional culture in the island is the "Tolharubang" or Stone Grandfather Guardian; stone images of man with a humourous smile on his face.

    The Tolharubang or Stone Grandfather, which has become a symbol of the island, stands at the entrance of a traditional village or a house, serving as the guardian deity driving away evil spirits. Tolharubang looks a little different from one another, but all of them appear majestic, with their portionately big eyes bulging out, their lips neatly closed, a cap on, and their hands resting on their stomachs.

    It is unknown when the stone images began to be made. Sadly, today they are regarded by most visitors as a curiosity, but in days days gone by they were regarded a powerful fertility god.

    One little bit of superstition for you. If you rub the nose of a tolharubang, you will have a son. Perhaps is why Jeju is famous for honeymooners, thet all want to rub the head of these dwarflike stony phaluses...

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    Ever Been to Scotland, or any Other Rocky Place?

    by Hmmmm Written Dec 17, 2003

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    A Basalt Rock Wall. Pic: Aaron Irving

    What did they do with all those rocks..? Well Jeju is a Volcanic Island, and full of stone, just like Hawai'i, and just as the ancient Hawaiians used the ubiquitous basalt to build EVRYTHING, so too did the ancient Jeju Islanders. You've already seen picture sof the stone houses. Now you see the rocks used as rocks walls.

    These walls often demarcate not only houses and their Madang or Courtyards, they are often also used to shelter paths (Walls of both sides) jeju is somewhat windy you see. But most commonly you will see these walls demarcating boundaries and providing shelter as shelter belts for non wind hardy crops.

    All the same. they are beautiful huh.

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    Pumpkins and a Thatched Roof?

    by Hmmmm Written Dec 17, 2003

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    A roof gourd. Pic: Aaron Irving

    The Gourds and Pumpkins grow very nicely on the roof, especially since both plants are water loving, and Jeju in the summer has the 'Chang Ma' or the summer monsoon. So it rains like %&$#!

    These vegetables would grow huge, and in Traditional Korea these veggies were well utilised. The weight of the pumpkins and gourds would help hold down the thatch during the fierce summer rains, they would also serve as an ingredient in soups. Also they are used in Kimch'i, very spicey pickled vegetables, and eaten in the winter.

    In the picture you can see that the gourd has had its flesh harvested, and is still kept intact. These dried vegetables, make naural bottles. Even entire pumpkins were dried and were used as serving dishes. In teh picture above you can see that the gourds have a elongated appendage that sticks up from the bulbous base. These gourds were dried and used as ladels....

    How cool huh.

    Look at the picture to the left, you can also see crudely woven rope, to which stones would have been tied as an addition roof support.

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    Its Raining, how do we keep the Thatch on the Roof

    by Hmmmm Written Dec 17, 2003

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    Gourds (Hobak) on the Roof. Pic: Aaron Irving

    Thatch. It looks nice huh..? Its all romantic, it brings to mind images of yesteryear. Those medieval houses in England or France. yes thatch is not unique to Korea, nor are the problems with thatch. Where do you think we get the expression "Its Raining Cats and Dogs".. yes when it rained in Elizabethan England, as the Thatch got old, worn, and fell of the roof, the roof would leak, and the cats and the dogs would jump down and seek cover from the rain... so how do we lengthen the halflife of a thatched roof. Well we can sew it, or we can do what the koreans did.

    They gre Gourds or Pumpkin (Hobak) or cucumber (Oi) which kept the roof togther nicely, they also tied the roof down with big pieces of Jeju basalt as weights.. so there you go. :oP

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    The Haenyo: The Women Divers of Jeju.

    by Hmmmm Written Dec 17, 2003

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    A Cliche Jeju House. Pic: Aaron Irving.

    Take a close look at the picture to your left. It is a Jeju cliche, having Tangerines, thatched Jeju House blah blah blah.

    However there is a statue celebrating the Haenyo (Diving Women). The "Haenyo," or female divers, of Jeju Island are born, grow up and die near the sea. Their lives revolve around the water where they harvest abalone, conch and a myriad of other marine products. These women are a unique breed.
    Many divers supplement their income from diving with other jobs, and when the tides are not right, the women busy themselves with household tasks and work in the fields. But as the peak tide approaches, Haenyo make their way to the rocky shores, and even in relatively rough water they will dive. I have seen them.

    The divers usually can remain underwater for up to 2 minutes in water up to 20 meters-deep. When the Haenyo do rise to the surface they call that long breath of nitrogen which makes a whistling sound a "sumbi-sori." The Haenyos' job can be dangerous as well as difficult, because they are occasionally attacked by poisonous jellyfish, sharks and other ocean predators.

    In the past, the divers worked for daily subsistence, but with the modernization of the Korean economy and the improvement of relations with Japan, the divers have been able to export many of their products, such as abalone and conches, to Japan, making a good cash income. Many of the Haenyo for Co-op restaurants, some of which lik ethe 'Ojo Haenyo Eui Jib' are quite renown. Even we ate there. However there is a down side to this additional income. Young Women from Jeju go to Scholl now, and even leave Jeju for the mailnland to study, and reject a life of diving. Thus, while there were up to 30,000 female divers on the island in the 1950s, by the beginning of the 1980s, this number dwindled to approximately 10,000, abd is expected to continue to decline until female divers of Jeju Island are little more than a footnote in the history of the island.

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    Jeju Do Tolharubang or Stone Grandfather Guardians

    by Hmmmm Written Dec 16, 2003

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    Tolharubang: Jeju Island Min Seok Maeul. Pic: ADI

    Jeju Island; a place of myths and legends, is an island, so rich in the beauty of natural scenery and exotic in culture, that it keeps attracting tourists both from home and abroad. Among the things representing traditional culture in the island is the "Tolharubang" or Stone Grandfather Guardian; stone images of man with a humourous smile on his face.

    The Tolharubang or Stone Grandfather, which has become a symbol of the island, stands at the entrance of a traditional village or a house, serving as the guardian deity driving away evil spirits. Tolharubang looks a little different from one another, but all of them appear majestic, with their portionately big eyes bulging out, their lips neatly closed, a cap on, and their hands resting on their stomachs.

    It is unknown when the stone images began to be made. Sadly, today they are regarded by most visitors as a curiosity, but in days days gone by they were regarded a powerful fertility god.

    One little bit of superstition for you. If you rub the nose of a tolharubang, you will have a son. Perhaps is why Jeju is famous for honeymooners, thet all want to rub the head of these dwarflike stony phaluses...

    OMG did I say that... :oP

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Jeju (city) Local Customs

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