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Annual Easter whipping? I prefer not, says South Korean student

How do South Koreans celebrate Easter, and what about those Czech Easter traditions? South Korean student Sanga Kweon has the answers from her perspective.

Student Sanga Kweon.

Sanga Kweon is a South Korean student of sociology and business administration. As a student of Seongkyungwan University she enrolled in an exchange programme and selected Masaryk University for the one semester abroad. She picked the spring semester during which Czechs, as well as all other Christian countries, celebrate Easter. How do people in South Korea observe the holiday and what does she think about Czech Easter traditions?

Easter is a Christian holiday; is it even observed in South Korea?

Yes. About one-third of South Koreans are Christian, so they do observe it. During Easter Korean Christians and Catholics attend churches for prayers. Some people also roam the streets and instruct people about the death and resurrection of Christ.

What do other people do?

Easter is an unusual holiday of sorts for Koreans who do not identify with the religion. They do not pay as much attention to Easter as they do to Christmas, which is also a Christian holiday but one that is celebrated much more. Non-Christians do ordinary things during Easter, as if it were a normal business day because Easter holidays are not recognised as public holidays. People spend their day shopping or drinking with friends. And they go to work as usual.

How does your family celebrate it?

As non-Christians we do not. It is an ordinary day for us. I go to school and my parents go to work. I am not flying home for the holiday because it is of little significance to my family.

Our kids, especially elementary school kids, have many workshops before Easter, such as egg decorating and other crafty activities. Do you have anything similar in South Korea?

Little kids may experience some Western Easter traditions in some schools. For example English teachers may organise egg hunts.

As for Czech Easter, you have been here for a few weeks; have you encountered any of them?

Yesterday I went to the Easter market at náměstí Svobody. There is a huge decorated egg; I liked it a lot. So I decided to decorate a few eggs in my own style. In fact, we have something similar in South Korea; boiled eggs decorated with various stickers are on display in churches. What I like about your eggs is that you actually decorate them.

What about other Czech traditions? What do you think about the traditional Easter whip? Does it hurt?

If it does, I pass. If I lived here I would avoid being whipped by men every year. It is unfair to girls because they have to suck it up and then give the men their reward.

Eggs decorated in South Korea.