About the Contributor // I want to extend a huge thanks to Esther Julee of Local Adventurer for helping me research this post! Esther is a photographer and blogger currently based in San Diego, California where she writes about her travels along with her husband Jacob.
A History of Christmas in Korea
Korea began celebrating Christmas as a holiday in the year 1949. Since the country used to primarily be practice Buddhism, it wasn’t until missionaries came to Korea and converted many into Christians in the 19th and 20th century that Christmas was celebrated. There was no holiday similar to Christmas in Korea prior to that.
How it is Celebrated Today
Christmas is celebrated very similarly to how it’s celebrated in the US, but not quite to the same degree. Not as many people put up Christmas trees or lights, getting into the Christmas spirit by listening to only Christmas music, etc., but you will see malls or other buildings decorated. And they do exchange gifts!
While there aren’t any dishes specific to Christmas meals, there are the ever popular Christmas cakes, a sponge cake covered in cream and elaborate decorations, often purchased from a local bakery. Ice cream cakes are also a popular alternative. These cakes are often elaborately decorated and can be quite beautiful!
Christmas Vocabulary in Korean
|크리스마스||keu ri seu ma seu||Christmas|
|메리 크리스마스!||mae ri keu ri seu ma seu||Merry Christmas|
|해피 하누카!||hae pi ha noo ka||Happy Hanukkah|
|성탄절||seong tan juhl||Christmas day|
|산타 클로스||san ta keul lo seu||Santa Claus (also 산타 할아버지 san ta ha ra bo jee|
|아기예수||ah gi yeh soo||baby Jesus|
|행복한 휴일 보내세요!||haeng bok han hyu il bo nae sae yo||happy holidays|
|새해 복 많이 받으세요!||sae hae bok man ii bo nae sae yo||blessings in the new year!|
|눈||nun / noon||snow|
|눈싸움||noon ssa oom||snowball fight|
|눈사람||nun sa ram||snowman|
|눈송이||noon song i||snowflake|
|아이스 스케이팅||ai seu seu kae ting||ice skating|
|벽난로||byeog nan ro||fireplace|
|썰매타기||sseol mae tah gi||sledding|
|크리스마스 트리||ker ree ser ma ser ter ree||Christmas Tree|
|루돌프 사슴코||ru dol peu sa seum ko||Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer|
|북극||buk geuk||North Pole|
|그린치||geu rin chi||Grinch|
|케이크||cae ee ker||cake|
|크리스마스 양말||keu ri seu ma seu yang mal||stocking|
Korean Christmas Cakes
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine salt
½ cup oil
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of ½ lemon
Zest from 1 lemon
6 room temperature eggs, separated
1½ cup sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
one can of vanilla frosting In a large bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
In two additional bowls, separate the eggs with the yolks in one and the whites in the other.
Whisk together the yolks along with 1 cup of sugar. Add in the oil, water, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set aside.
In your third bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add in the cream of tartar. Slowly add in the 1/2 cup of sugar, a small amount at a time while continually whisking. Continue to whisk eggs until they reach stiff peaks.
Slowly mix the egg yolk mixture into the flour bowl. Mix just enough to combine ingredients so that batter is not overworked. Fold in the egg whites until the batter is uniform.
Pour batter equally into two 8″ cake tins. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.
Allow to cool, then add vanilla frosting. Adapted from the Squishy Monster
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