Supporting one’s parents with devotion, taking good care of one’s parents in senile infirmity and paying homage to the late parents are essentials in family custom Korean people have observed from generation to generation.
A newborn baby takes father’s surname. Women do not change their first and second names after marriage.
The family custom includes holding birthday celebrations, and 60th birthday feast for parents is representative of them.
In the past a person who lived to be 60 was considered to have lived long. To mark his or her 60th birthday a grand banquet was held to congratulate and wish him or her a longer life. He or she was presented with new garments and a ceremonial feast. When the birthday table was ready, the children, relatives and friends would take turns to present a cup of wine and make a deep bow.
A birthday table is now arranged in the name of the State for those, who have been devotedly working for the country and the people, and also for centenarians. Holding a memorial service for the deceased is another important family custom.
Funerals and memorial services are held in a simple but mournful and polite way.
The basic way of greeting is a bow.
Juniors make a deep bow to their parents and other elders among their family members and relatives.
Outdoors, people usually bow in a standing position. The extent of bending of the upper body shows the relation of the junior to the senior. The deeper the bow, the more respectful it is. When Korean people meet others of the same age, they make a slight bow to each other before exchanging greetings.
Welcoming of guests is a peculiar etiquette and trait of the Korean nation.
Everywhere you go in the country that has been known as the “Oriental land of good manners” from olden times, you can feel kindness and warm hospitality for guests.