Yellow has always played a vital role in Korea’s rich history and culture. Usually, yellow symbolizes nature, safety, and accomplishment. However the meaning can vary depending where you are or who you talk to. In Korean shamanism there is a yellow amulet called Pujok in which the color symbolizes good luck. This was hung as a banner on top people’s houses or hand held as a lucky charm. The yellow is important for this amulet as it was believed that evil spirits hated this color and made them stay away. In traditional Buddhist temples walls, roofs, and pillars are decorated in the form of Dancheong which is based on 5 basic colors, and yellow being one of them symbolizes the element, Earth. In Hanboks (Korean traditional clothing) women wear a yellow blouse called Chogori to show that they are still single. In regional flags, the color yellow is used which have various meanings. Jeollabuk province’s flag has yellow markings which symbolizes peace. The flag for the city of Chongju has a yellow symbol which means glory, and Changwon’s flag has a yellow square which symbolizes the citizens ~ Thanks Google~ haha
However since this is a personal blog I have my own interpretations as to what ‘yellow’ means in Korea. To me, yellow is one of the first signs of Spring and the coming of Summer. Apart from the Cherry blossoms plaguing the whole country, patches or even fields of Canola (pictured) can be seen throughout Korea providing stunning beauty and picturesque lanscapes. The withering of Canola (thanks to the unbearable scorching heat) is like a natural alarm signaling the arrival of summer ~_~
OK, I’m making it sound like I’m comparing summer weather in Korea to the flames of Hell, it’s not…it’s actually my favorite part of the year! Despite overheating underneath my jeans and sweating gallons of water, it’s the time of year where people can finally turn off their heaters and venture out to discover new places.
The pictures above are taken near my home in the metropolitan city of Gwangju. I always pass this area on the way to and back from work and have always wanted to snap some photos yet I didn’t want to do a simple landscape shot either. The moment came just right when top blogger Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching asked me to participate in the ‘Colors of Korea’ project. Of course it sounded like an interesting project and also an opportunity to stretch my limits as a photographer *crack knuckles*. As soon as I read the e-mail, images of the Canola fields ran through my mind, hence I knew for sure I wanted to do yellow~
The intense heat seems to have come earlier this year for some reason. Not so good in terms of it was so sudden that I didn’t even get a chance to wear my newly bought, ultra slick spring jacket. Oh well, back it goes into the closet. On the bright side, most cafes began to introduce new varieties of BingSu (빙수), which is a popular shaved ice dessert. I’m not kidding as to how vital this dessert is to my survival of Korean summer. Hot weather usually makes me lose my appetite and so I usually have a big bowl of salad or BingSu instead. One of my favorites is the mango flavored BingSu (pictured). It is one of those flavors which once it hits your mouth, you are in a zone of exotic paradise ~ 맛있게 먹어라~
Traditional markets are also bustling with a variety of food, but the most popular choice of fruit nowadays is the ChamOue (참외) a.k.a the Golden Korean melon (pictured). The Korean melon is refreshing, juicy, and a delicious treat. However take care serving these fruits by peeling the skin and removing seeds before eating as the seeds are natural laxatives ~hence you will be making several rounds to the bathroom~
I’m sure there are many more things in Korea which are ‘yellow’….yellow panties, yellow pipelines, yellow dust….but the things above are what I think best describes my current state of mind and most importantly, spring.
Anyways, check out these other blogs and their colors!
RED at Lost in the ROK
BLUE at Kimchi Bytes
PINK at Head High Heart Strong
ORANGE at Seoul Searching
PURPLE at Mapping Words
GREEN at Johanne Miller
WHITE at Pandamiwoo