Lunar Day in Korea

Spam hampers hit the shops.

Whilst wandering the supermarket near the hotel the other day I was approached by women in traditional dress – at least I think that’s what it was. (I wouldn’t really know would I?). They were pushing the special presentation sets of Spam, everyone’s favourite tinned meat…. They were especially keen to show me the reduced prices. all the while speaking to me in Korean seemingly oblivious to the fact that – just by looking at me – anyone could tell I hadn’t the faintest idea what they were talking about. Spam! Yes, I understood that bit. But all the other stuff? All I could do was smile and take the special offer leaflet and continue walking.

As I have written previously during my first visit here, Koreans have a particular liking for the tinned spiced ham.

Korean New Year

All this special offer gourmet food must mean one thing. The Korean new year – also known as Lunar new year, falling on the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice.

In the west we naturally refer to Chinese new year which we all know comes around this time of year – end of Jan early Feb. I never gave it any thought, that the same thing is also celebrated in Korea. And of course, Japan and Vietnam…and possibly more. This whole corner of the planet basically celebrates the same new year. This year falls on Feb 15th. All Koreans will celebrate over the next four days. Mainly by spending time with their families.

Spam Gift Sets…

It is an almost uniquely British thing to laugh about Spam. Due to the classic Monty Python sketch of course. It is also a generational thing. I doubt many youngsters in the UK would find it as funny as my generation. Even if they seen the Python sketch they have probably never eaten Spam. As kids we definitely ate a fair amount of it.

At the shipyard everyone has been presented with some kind of gift hamper (cesta) and many of them have a special Spam Gift Set. Just like this…

It makes me laugh anyway….

Unfortunately, we ex-pats will be working right through this period. Well, we are here for a short time so every day counts…Doesn’t it?

For those too young to remember here is a link to that sketch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_eYSuPKP3Y

Personally I don’t find it at all funny these days. It has clearly dated. The sight of Koreans walking out of the shipyard clutching their Spam gifts in special presentation bags however did have us British ex-pats giggling.

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