May 8th is Parents’ Day in Korea. According to a co-worker, May 8th was originally called Mothers’ Day but fathers felt their contributions were being ignored (there is no Fathers’ Day) and so the holiday was renamed Parents’ Day.
I was intrigued by Parents’ Day. Apparently, it is a very important day in Korea and yet, not important enough to warrant an actual holiday. May 5th was Children’s Day. It is a national holiday. There is even a special kind of rice cake for Children’s Day.
(I’m not so sure I’d have been excited by green rice cake when I was a child but who knows how the minds of Korean children work?)
I asked my students about Parents’ Day.
“We give many red flowers.”
“My mother very, very like red flowers.”
“Red flowers, good!”
I decided to ask my co-T to elaborate.
It seems that everyone gives their parents red carnations on Parents’ Day. The students spent several hours in school today making red carnation cards, and little bouquets of red paper carnations.
Nobody could explain why red carnations were the flower of choice. My co-T Googled Parents’ Day and found this explanation for me:
“It is the day when children pay regards to efforts of their parents. Parents are the epitome of love and affection. They play the role of providers throughout our lives. It is their constant sacrifices, selfless nature and unconditional love which formulate us as mature and responsible individuals. Parent’s Day is the day for those people who gave up their wishes to fulfill ours.
Children resort to giving flowers and gifts to their parents. Carnations and roses are the most picked flowers for the day, to mark its specialty.
The recent times have not only modernized one’s thought processes, but also one’s expression of emotions. People in South Korea are now giving their parents cosmetic surgery as a gift for Parent’s Day. Face lifts, botox treatments and hair transplants, to enhance the look of the parents and to make them young again, are common resorts by children in the 21st century. In this fast paced world, a day like this helps us to realize and thank our parents- our mentor and guide who have made us what we are today.”
Nothing says “Thanks Mom and Dad!” like carnations and Botox. 😀
Teachers were allowed to leave early this afternoon (miraculous!) so they could spend time with their parents.
“But not you,” my co-T told me. “Your parents are too far away. And not old teachers because maybe their parents are dead.”
Happy Parents’ Day! 😀