Many customs in the USA are similar to the customs of my country, Korea. However, some differences are surprising, some are embarrassing, and some are just funny. Some of the different customs are related to New Year’s celebrations, dinner customs, and conversation styles. First, New Year’s Day is celebrated differently in Korea and the United States in numerous ways. In the USA, New Year’s Day is on January 1st, every new year.
When it becomes December 31 at 12:59:50 p. m. , people start to count down for the next year. When it becomes 12:00 a. m. , they give each other hugs and kisses, and they enjoy their party. However, Korean has a different event in their country. Korean uses the lunar calendar to mark the New Year. Lunar calendar is a calendar that is based on cycles of the lunar phase, and the first day of a month is the day when an astronomical new moon occurs in a particular time zone. Because Korean New Year’s Day is about one month later than New Year’s Day in the U.
S. Second, Korea and the USA have different customs regarding dinner. The formal restaurant dinner here usually has three or four courses including the appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. When the first course is finished, the next course will be served. The main meal usually includes meat, such as beef, pork or chicken. Every meal is eaten with forks, knifes and spoons. And “Starting with the knife, fork, or spoon that is farthest from your plate, work your way in, using one utensil for each course,” according to an author Linda Stradley.
In contrast, in Korea, most Korean food restaurants are all the food is served at one time. The main dish is always rice and soups, and it is served with the several side dishes. The rice should be located on the left side, and the soup has to be placed on the right side. A spoon and chopsticks are used for eating. And according to a restaurant Chung Dam, “Koreans eat their rice and soup with a spoon, and side dishes and the main course with chopsticks. ”(1) Last, the conversation etiquette is also totally different between Korea and the USA.
When I meet an American who has a lot of questions for me, some of their questions are very personal and unusual. If I ask why they asked me about that question, they answer that they are just curious. It is very uncomfortable because nobody asked those questions for me in Korea. I may be the first person from my country whom they have met, and they have very little understanding of my life. Most people are sincerely interested in learning about me, so now I try to understand their curiosity.
On the other hand, when people meet new friend in Korea, they never ask a lot of questions, even if they are very curious about new friend. Korean thinks that is rude, and it makes new friend uncomfortable. Traditionally, Korean society is based on Confucianism, so Korean thinks it is important to respect people’s privacy and be more considerable and silent. To sum up, the USA and Korea have some different cultures. These two countries have large differences about New Year’s Day, Dinner style, Conversation etiquette.
Some American customs make me uncomfortable and are unusual for me. However, I think it is important to understand the differences between the two countries. When I understand these differences and try to understand them, it helps make me make friend here and understand them.
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