This past Thursday I went to a hanbok party at Deokseong Women University. Hanbok is traditional Korean clothing. At the party, everyone dressed up in a hanbok, and there were traditional games and performances. It took place on their campus in an area with buildings that looked like a traditional house. The entrance was 5,000krw to the party and an additional 11,000krw for the hanbok rental.
The girls and boys were divided into separate changing areas, but the majority of the party goers were girls. To attend the party, my friends and I had to reserve our spots ahead of time in order to get a hanbok, and once there, we got whatever hanbok was given to us. Putting on a hanbok is kinda complicated if you have never put one on before. First, you must put the bottom of the hanbok on. The bottom skirt is kind of like a really really long and wide apron so you must place and wrap it around your chest. The ribbon is extra long to wrap around the back, and it is tied into a small bow in front of your chest. Then, you put the outer top part of the hanbok on and tie the ribbon in a loop, not a bow. Tying the hanbok was actually pretty difficult, so my friend had to do that for me. Most girls braided their hair or twisted it into a bun and wore a headband to complete their look.
The hanboks looked different depending on the traditional Korean social class that it represented. Some of my friends had the royal top so they did not have to tie a bow. The royal top was also longer so you could tuck your hand properly underneath the top. I guess the hanbok I received was just a commoner one, but I still liked mine since it was a different color from all the other ones.
At the party, they had some traditional activities for the guests to play, such as archery, writing wishes on paper that hung between the trees, and fortune telling for an extra 2000krw. They also sold some food, such as Korean pancakes and ricecake. We got coupons that we could exchange for a cup of makgeolli (rice wine), a funny tasting collagen drink, or special pads (feminine hygiene products) for the girls.
For entertainment, we watched some performances. First, there was a magic show with a really bad but entertaining magician. Then, we got the chance to perform a traditional dance called “Ganggangsullae,” where we held hands in a circle and ran around and skipped. The speed of the rotation gradually got quicker, and there were occasional pauses to look at the moon. In the middle of the dance, everyone would also sit down suddenly and clap while a couple rose and happily danced in the middle. It was quite difficult to play while wearing a long dress. I had to avoid stepping on my own hanbok while trying to prevent the people next to me from stepping on it. After dancing, we also saw a traditional martial arts performance as well. At the end of the night, my blond friend won best dressed, even though everyone was wearing the same thing. She did look nice, but she won everyone over due to her hair!
The hanbok party at Deokseong University is held annually, and it is a nice excuse for girls to dress up, look pretty, and take a million pictures of themselves. I really enjoyed it!