Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Made in Korea : a special report from the food fest held in Imphal/ India

Hi everyone, we all know that Korea is getting bigger and bigger day by day through its smart power called "Hallyu". We all know that Hallyu is all about South Korean cultural items including drama, movies, food, K-pop/music , life style, fashion , cosmetics etc.

Here I would like to share my experience from my country here in India. India is a big and land of multi-dimensional culture shared with different ethnics, caste, culture as well as religions reside under one roof. On top of this India is the largest movies producing country. Bollywood the film city of India is compare with the Hollywood of west. Unlimited production of movies creates Indian cinema among the Inidan masses a big place. That's the reason why it is a bit difficult to break-through and surpass by the Korean movies and culture although , electonic products from the brand names like Samsung, LG'S, Daewoo,Hundai , Lotte etc become household names in every corner here in India.

Korean companies are flourshing in most of the big cities in India due to Korean Companies the demand rate of learning Korean language become populated. Even though, the popularity of Korean soft products like movies and dramas are slow in pace.

On the contrary of the above given information, here I would again like to share you about the popularity of Korean movies, drama, K-pop and fashion in the other corner in India.

North-East part of India has been always different from the other part of the country in every ways for example food habit, ways of living, life style, physical appearence. In these particular area people are highly appreciated Korean culture as weall as Korean dramas and movies , starting from an old age to the younger generations.

When we asked why they are so much into the Korean items and the movies, they said ther feel very inter-connected with their appearence and the cool picturisation. Most of the youngsters like all the k-pop singer due to Arirang channel and KBS channel.

At this moment,for the first time some of the foreign nations
are participating food festival held in Imphal, Manipur which is going on till 1 may. Korea, China , THailand and Tibet are the four countries participating among the local food stalls.

As I already mentioned earlier, starting from small children to the old people are crazy over Korean items are hogging into the Korean stall only. Since this is the first time the Korean stall sell few items especially the famus Kimchi, Kim, Kim-pap, and syngupsal.

Youngster keep visiting the stall just the see the glimpse and meet the stall owner and say some few greeting like "Annyong-haseyo" and "Khamsha-Hapnida" as they have learned from watching the Korean movies and dramas...

A charming lady of Thailand stall

This is an intersting experience which I am experiencing here in my home-town, I am so excited to see how much people of North-East India specially the Manipuris love the Korean items and the Korean people. They are looking forward to see and experience like this.... as the Manipur University will be introducing Korean language subject in the University.

The two awesome owner of the Korean stall

I hope if both countries government takes initiative to open Korean world here in this place it will be a great beneficial for both the society as well as both the countries.

A Manipuri family enjoying Korean Kimchi and other items from the foreign stalls

Monday, April 18, 2011

Assimilation between Korean Shamanism and Sanamahism of Manipur

This is an interesting topic which deals about the Korean cultural activities as well as the old traditional rites and rituals.Another important thing is the role of women and their contribution towards the social activities.

One more thing I would like to mention here the comparison between the Meitei or Sanamahi culture and the Korean Shamanism.

source: from internet photo gallery.

The Korean shamanism are encompassing varieties of indigenous beliefs and practices which have been influenced by other religion. In contemporary Korea, shamanism is known as muism and a shaman is known as a mudang (무당, 巫堂). The role of the mudang, usually a woman, is to act as intercessors between a god or gods and human beings.Whereas, Sanamahism is the worship of Sanamahi, the Creator of the Meiteis. Sanamahism is one of the oldest sects of South Asia. It originated in Manipur, India and is mainly practiced by the Meiteis, Kabui, Zeliangrong and other communities who inhabit Manipur, Assam, Tripura, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Lai Haraoba of Sanamahism : Lai Haraoba means "merry making of the Gods". It is a festival of the recollection of the creation stories and myth played by all deities with the first origin of this universe and evolution of the plants and animals through the will of Atiya Shidaba or the creator. And in this festival the Maibi or the Sahman roles are taken by the women mostly.
The rituals within the festival are the same except in some items or hymns, such as ikouba, ikourol, and yakairol at the beginning and mikon thagonba, ngaprum tanba at the end of the festival. In the performances, the evolution story with the amorous love-affairs of Nongpok Ninghthou and Panthoibi is depicted and played equally in all kinds of lai haraoba.

In the Korean case lso the interesting thing is the role of women, they are enlisted by those who want the help of the spirit world. Shamans hold gut, or services, in order to gain good fortune for clients, cure illnesses by exorcising lost spirits that cling to people, or propitiate local or village gods. Such services are also held to guide the spirit of a deceased person to heaven.

Even though belief in Korean shamanism is not as widespread as it once was in olden days,but still the practices are keep alive. In the past, shamanistic rites have included in agricultural activities, such as prayers for abundant harvesting. With a shift away from agriculture in modern Korea this has largely been exhtingushing now a days.

Korean shamanism have its own distinct feature by seeking to solve human problems through a meeting of humanity and the spirits. This can be seen clearly in the various types of gut (굿) that are still widely observed.

Often a woman will become a shaman very reluctantly--after experiencing a severe physical or mental illness that indicates possession by a spirit. Such possession allegedly can be cured only through performance of a gut. Once a shaman is established in her profession, she usually can make a good life.
Jeju Island is a center of Korean Shamanism .

The Origin of Korean Shamanism: Belief in a world inhabited by spirits is probably the oldest form of Korean religious life, dating back to prehistoric times.

Shamanism has its roots in ancient, land-based cultures, dating at least as far back as 40,000 years. The shaman was known as “magician, medicine man, psychopomp, mystic and poet” (Eliade, 1974). What set him apart from other healers or priests was his ability to move at will into trance states. During a trance, the shaman’s soul left his body and travelled to other realms, where helping spirits guided him in his work. The shaman provided healing on many levels; physical, psychological and spiritual. The work of the shaman was based on the holistic model, which took into consideration, not only the whole person, but that person’s interaction with his world, both inner and outer. The soul was considered the place of life breath, where essence resided, and any physical illness was inextricably linked with sickness of the soul. Illness of the mind had to do with soul loss, intrusion, possession.

There is a rather unorganized pantheon of many gods, spirits, and ghosts, ranging from the "god generals" who rule the different quarters of heaven to mountain spirits (sansin). This pantheon also includes gods who inhabit trees, sacred caves, and piles of stones, as well as earth spirits, the tutelary gods of households and villages, mischievous goblins, and the ghosts of persons who in many cases met violent or tragic ends. These spirits are said to have the power to influence or to change the fortunes of living men and children.

The rites themselves underwent a number of changes through the Silla and Goryeo periods. Even during the Joseon Dynasty which was heavily Confucian, shamanistic rites persisted.

Scholastic Opinion: Many scholars regard Korean shamanism as less a religion than a "medicine" in which the spirits are manipulated in order to achieve human ends.[citation needed] There is no notion of salvation or moral and spiritual perfection, at least for the ordinary believers in spirits. The shaman is a professional who is consulted by clients whenever the need is felt.

Animistic beliefs are strongly associated with the culture of fishing villages and are primarily a phenomenon found in rural communities. Shamans also treat the ills of city people, however, especially recent migrants from the countryside who find adjustment to an impersonal urban life stressful.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Showering colorful flowers on the lap of "The Land of Morning Calm"

I welcome spring long back as here in India Spring season started from the month of February but this time its little slow pace in Korea. Every time I check-out at the Facebook people start inquiring about the season and the flower spot specially at the site of, Korea Tourism, Korea Clickers etc..

I am here uploading some of the pictures of flowers I have taken from the places where I have visited. Well these pictures are not so good but they not too bad also..

Kyunghee University Seoul Campus
Its king of exciting and enthusiastic when people keep posting whereabouts the flower season and place where to visit..

National Museum Compound, Seoul

Ewha Women's University Compound, Seoul

Daegu University, Daegu

Post-Tech Campus, Pohang

This year the spring season is little bit late may be because of the changing climates or the ....
I still remember my last year experience during the spring season of Korea. It was wonderful and flowless rainbow color flower blooms every nook and corner .

I took this pic in Kyunghee University Campus where I studied Korean Language. I didn't know that the bird is flying towards me, have I known this I could have been focus well with the zooms...
Still I love this pic, cos accidentally I captured this moment so well..and I endure it !

The devilish red Algeria flowers blooming so freely

Kunghee University Campus

Algeria flowers in White and Pink Color

These are my yester years memories I had been spending at Korea and I am still cherishing all these beautiful scenic views..there are more pics in my treasure, I will share here again...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Korea Introduce the world of natural dyes

This is real! The world of natural dyes

On January 11, Maronie exhibition in Kyoto.

Gyeongnam Natural Dyeing Association in Korea held a six-day exhibition in Kyoto which is said to be a city of vivid traditional culture of Japan. Nine members of Gyeongnam Natural Dyeing Association introduced various kinds of natural dyeing products that were made with passion, which received favorite comments from not only Japanese but also the same industry. Let’s take a closer look at this globally recognized and beautiful field of natural dyeing.

< Gyeongbuk Natural Dyeing Association declared that it will become a Mecca of the natural dyeing after hosting ‘Symposium for the Vitalization of the Natural dyeing Industry’ last June.> (Photograph: Fashion Journal)

Natural dyes, the solution of Health and environment

In the Three Kingdom period, while the kings and nobles wore the silk costumes which were imported from China, commoners began to dress themselves with the naturally-dyed clothes. At the beginning, they used grass and polygonum indigo from mountains and fields for navy, persimmon for dark blue, and charcoal for black. In other words, Korean ancestors wear the nature colored clothes, which are different from the recent clothes with unnatural colors made of the artificial fibers and chemical compounds.

Actually, the naturally-dyed clothes do good to skin. Some clothes with chemical dyes cause an atopic dermatitis or other skin diseases to some children who have a delicate skin. However, considering the fact that natural dyes from vegetables are harmless to human and kill the harmful virus, it can be said that clothes save our health.

While the chemical dyes cause serious environmental problems with waste water in dyeing process, natural dyes reduce those damage, which can be said an environmental-friendly dyeing method. In addition, if we make clothes with natural dyes which are extracted from the plants that have unique ingredients or smells to protect them from the harmful insects or animals, it will also protect your body from those. As an example, some ancestors used polygonum indigo as a dyeing material from their knowledge that snakes dislike its smell. Their wisdom of life is just amazing!

< Exhibition of Gyeongnam Natural Dyeing Association in Kyoto. Muffler(left) by Lee Kyung-ran, representative and printed scarf by You Chang-ho, the chairman of the association> (Photograph: Fashion Journal)

Despite the time and hard work, considered a ‘Must Try’ among foreigners

Then, what is the process of making such a wonderful natural dye? The beautiful naturally-dyed cloth can be born only after passing through the 20 manual labor steps, such as boiling, drying, and adding mordant in it. Mordant is an ingredient which helps the color last longer. As it requires a long time and hard work, accordingly the costs rise and become more expensive than the artificial colored-one.

However, as the public interests on environmentally-friendly products increase, the ideas on those products are also rapidly changing. In particular, the experiencing event of natural-dyeing became very popular among foreigners. Moreover, many naturally-dyed clothes are being sold in Jongro area, including Insadong, where foreign visitors mostly visit, and the number of foreigners who come and try the events from a word of mouth also increases. It is said that every single Japanese tourist who is said to have a lot interests on beauty are also impressed with Korea’s naturally-dyed products. It shows that natural dyeing can be worth being one of the representative brands in Korea. That seems enough to enter the global market, considering the Kyoto exhibition which introduced naturally-dyed products at the first on the list.

Korean central government and local government which early saw the potentials have prepared the systematic supporting plan to step forward. Since when the natural dyeing industry was selected by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy as a nurturing business of the local government’s laboratory last 2008, the government finished the preparation to make Gyeongnam Natural Dyeing Association as a core center for natural dyeing industry, and now they are working on it for the development of the field. On the following, ‘Symposium for the Vitalization of the Natural dyeing Industry’ was held in June 2011, and the MOU with Daegu and Gyeongbuk fabric fashion Institute was embedded as well, which actively promotes the natural dyeing industry.

Indigo and dark blue, those colors make people relaxed. If we wear the naturally-dyed clothes, we can definitely say it is a well-being life. Now we all hope that Korea’s naturally-dyed products will actively pushing the overseas markets.