THERE IS a huge difference between 19 and 20. In Korea, turning 20 means that
you are not a child anymore, but an adult. To celebrate this special change, the
Ministry of Culture and Tourism holds Seong-nyun-ui-nal (Coming-of-Age
Day) on the third Monday of May. The Yonsei Annals congratulates those who are
turning 20 this year and would like to share Yonseians' memories and hopes about
3rd Semester, Graduate School of Int'l
I spent the day with my boyfriend who was also turning 20; we bought
gifts for each other and had a nice meal. My parents gave me roses that night.
As a kid, I thought turning 20 and becoming an adult wasn't a big deal, so I
didn't put much meaning into the celebration. But now that I think of it,
becoming an adult is tough and it requires a lot of endurance. I want to advise
Yonseians who are turning 20 to carefully think about what they really want and
plan their future.
Fresh., Area of Liberal Arts
Although I'm a freshman, I? turning 20 this year because I studied one
more year to enter Yonsei. I am disappointed by university life, so I'm not that
excited about the Coming-of-Age Day. It would be nice if I get gifts from
friends but it feels a bit awkward to say so because I'm one year older than my
peers. But since the Coming-of-Age Day means I'm now an adult, I would like to be
more responsible for myself from now on.
Sr., Exchange student from U. of
I have never heard about the Coming-of-Age Day in Korea. In the
Netherlands, 18 and 21 are considered two important ages. You are an adult in
the legal system starting from 18, but you are socially accepted as an adult
when you turn 21. There aren't any special traditions because my country is very
multi-cultural; people celebrate this event in various ways. However, a lot of
people, including me, have parties to celebrate turning 21. My parents held a
fancy dinner and invited relatives and friends.
Soph., Dept. of Political Science
I had anticipated this event ever since I entered college and thought
that I would receive roses, a cologne and a kiss. Unfortunately, I broke up with
my girlfriend a few weeks ago, so I won't be receiving them after all. Besides,
this age hits me as the age I'll go to the army rather than becoming an adult. I
think most male sophomores would also think so. Despite these two gloomy
factors, I'm planning to spend my time wisely and as meaningful as possible
before I leave school for military service. I'm trying to live enthusiastically
and energetically these days.
Soph., Area of Liberal Arts
2005 was a rough year for me, so I have my hopes up for this year.
Turning 20 has a lot of meaning for me. I feel that I should be more prudent and
responsible from now on; now I have underclassmen and I have to select a major.
In South America, where I come from, 15 is considered an important age for
girls. There is a tradition called quinceanera where girls dress up in fancy
dresses and enter the party with their fathers. Through this tradition, girls
are accepted as mature women.
Director of General Affairs in Seong Kyun
Historically there wasn't a specified age for the coming-of-age
ceremony. Young men participated in the ceremony between 15 and 20; young women
before marriage, with the approval of their parents. Boys wore gwan (a
traditional crown) and a special outfit meaning that they should behave like
adults. Moreover, they stopped using childhood names and started using new names
called ja. Girls wore a binyu (an ornamental hairpin) as a symbol of womanhood.
Both young men and women were given traditional alcoholic drinks by the elderly
so that they would learn to be temperate in drinking.