Regular FeaturesVoice on Campus
Turning 20The Coming-of-Age Day
Lee Min-ji Assisstant Reporter  |  planetz@yonsei.ac.kr
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승인 2006.05.01  00:00:00
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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 turning 20.

   
Choi Hee-jung
3rd Semester, Graduate School of Int'l Studies

  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.

   
Cheon Young-jun
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.




   
Corine Franken
Sr., Exchange student from U. of Amsterdam

  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.


   
Cho Kyu-dong
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.

   
Song Nary
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.



   
Ko Eung-bai
Director of General Affairs in Seong Kyun Kwan

  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.

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