Are you interested in adopting from South Korea? Well then this slideshow is for you. Read on to learn all about South Korean culture, history, holidays, and more. This will help give you an introduction to your future child’s heritage and culture.
South Korea Informational Slideshow
All you need to know to prep for an adoption in South Korea.
South Korea, or the Republic of Korea, with an estimated population of around 50 million, is located near the Korean peninsula just east of China and South of North Korea. It has one of the fastest and most sustainable economies in the world. Today the country continues to boast impressive strides in technology, transportation, and manufacturing.
The government runs much like other democracies, but is mostly patterned after the United States constitutional structure. It operates under different branches of government, and representatives are chosen or removed through general elections, and includes the use of multiparty systems.
The majority of the population speaks Korean and are of Korean descent. While Shamanism, Buddhism, and Confucianism constitute the background for modern Korean culture, due to previous governments and regimes, nearly half the population isn’t religious while the other half is split between Buddhism, Christianity, and few others.
The country is made up of a diverse geology and biodiversity, much of which is covered in mountainous terrain. Though this makes for great diversity, wildlife preserves, and national parks, most of this area makes up 70% of the landmass and is mostly unable to grow crops. This leaves almost all of the farming to be done by lowland communities that have decreased in number since the 1950s. The fishing industry remains a significant food supply and export for the country.
The Korean peninsula originally was one nation formed after the division of the Three Kingdoms and Dynasties ruled for much of the middle ages. It wasn’t until 1943 when the last ruling family fell to corruption within the government and Japan took occupation during World War ll that Korea split.
After the Japanese surrendered to Soviet and U.S. forces who occupied the Northern and Southern regions of Korea at the time. Initially, the country was to be one unified state, but under Cold War antagonism, the two superpowers settled on a North Korea and South Korea with separate governments each fashioned after their own.
The Northern leaders felt their authoritarian rule was the only way to unify Korea and invaded South Korea in 1950, sparking the Korean War. As the North received aid from Soviet forces, the South also received help from the United Nations and Chinese. Over 1.2 million people died in the conflict, leaving the two nations with extreme losses of population and no choice but to agreed to a stalemate. The two nations never signed a peace treaty and have technically been at war ever since.
Since then, the government has undergone a handful of regimes in the form of six republics, some ending with assassination and others with impeachment. In between the changes of government leaders, military leadership kept the peace and helped to establish order. During the 70s, this turned into more of a strict military rule rather than a democracy.
Despite the ups and downs in politics, the country has continued to see incredible growth in the economy since the 60s. Manufacturing steel and technology became some of its primary exports.
In the late 1970s, an armed group of students and citizens called for a full restoration of democracy, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths. After the election of a new president in 1980, military restrictions and laws were lifted but remained under martial law. It wasn’t until the late 80s that full-fledged democracy was demanded by the overwhelming majority of the citizens and leaders. Shortly after the summer Olympic Games in Seoul, the country elected a new president and ushered in a new democracy that is still in operation today.
In the 2000s, North Korea issued a “sunshine policy” of engagement that was supposed to smooth over relations between the countries, but South Korean leaders are still concerned over the North’s increase in military and nuclear activities over the past decades.
Relations remain tense between the two countries as the North deals with conflicting interests and criticism from many world nations, and the South deals with internal conflicts of government leaders and interests.
The South Korean flag was outlawed under Japanese rule, but was revived by U.S. generals in 1948. The flag was redesigned in 1950 to its current design with small adjustments in the late 80s and 90s. The white background is for peace and represents the “Land of the Morning Calm.” White is also traditional clothing attire for many Koreans. The central symbol is called an um-yang and (like the yin-yang) represents the origin and duality of the universe. The surrounding broken and unbroken bars symbolize the sun, moon, earth, and heaven.
South Korea is divided up into eight provinces, a self governing province, six metropolitan cities that are not part of any province, and two special cities.
Also known as Hangawi, this festival often brings families together to commemorate ancestors through celebratory events and memorial services. It occurs on the 15th month of the 8th lunar calendar.
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