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Greetings in Korea

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In Korea people bow when they greet one another and say 안녕하세요?, which means Hello or How do you do?. This is one of the Korean Basic Conversation. Let’s learn the Korean way of greetings. You may go to Meeting a Korean For The First Time for more.

  • 1. Let your hands down to the side of your legs.
  • 2. Lower your head with your eyes down.
  • 3. Bend slightly to make a bow.

In old times Koreans made big bows when greeting. Nowadays big bows are made mostly on ceremonial occasions such as New Year’s Day or wedding ceremonies. Men and women bow in different ways. Let’s see how to make a deep bow.

How a Korean man bows

  • 1. In standing position, put your left hand over your right.
  • 2. Kneel down and place your hands on the floor.
  • 3. Place your elbows on the floor and lower your forehead all the way to your hands. Hold this position briefly.
  • 4. Raise your head and lift your knees off the floor.
  • 5. Stand up pushing your knee with both hands.
  • 6. Stand up straight with both hands folded and feet together.

How a Korean woman bows

  • 1. In standing position, put your right hand over your left. Raise your arms to shoulder level. Lower your forehead to your folded hands.
  • 2. Kneel down in that position with your right knee down and your left knee up.
  • 3. Bow 45 degrees keeping your forehead on your hands. Hold this position briefly.
  • 4. Sit up straight keeping your right knee up.
  • 5. Stand up and put your feet together with your hands on your forehead
  • 6. Put your hands down unfolded and keep them in front of you.

So now you have already learned how to bow when meeting Korean people or on Korean ceremonial occasions.

Credit: Seoul National University

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