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Winter is Coming

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For someone who grew up in a tropical country with only the wet and the dry seasons, experiencing snow is a huge deal. I like the sun, but not the humidity that usually goes with hot weather. That is why many tropical skins long for the cold weather and feeling those snowflakes is some kind of a mesmerizing experience. I became wide-eyed when the first snowflakes landed on my coat when I was in New York. My husband did a “snow angel” when he went to Switzerland. (For those who don't know yet, you do a snow angel when you lie down on a bed of snow, flapping your arms while leaving wing-like marks as if you were an angel. I do this when I'm on my bed to feel the new sheets. Haha!)

More than the snow’s feel-good effect, the idea of a “first snow” comes to mind. K-drama lovers know this very well. The first time I heard of it was when I watched the love story, Goblin. As I watched more Korean dramas, I became more curious as they incorporated the meaning of the first snow in the scenes.

So what exactly is the significance of the first snow in a Korean’s life?

Nun (pronounced ‘noon’) is “snow” or “eye” in Korean. Cheonnun or “first snow” connotes a link to “first eye,” which may romantically mean “first sight” as in lovers meeting for the first time.

In South Korea, it is believed that when lovers see the first snowfall together, they would enjoy everlasting love. That is why in the dramas, couples play out a scene where they vow to go to a certain spot to witness the first snowfall with the hope of eternal love to come upon them.

Those who want to find their first love paint their nails red with balsam flowers and preserve this color until the first snow arrives. If the paint fades, then one would not meet the love that is longed for.

In another non-romantic meaning, the first day of snow was like the April Fool’s Day of the Joseon Dynasty. It was uncommon to have snow in the Yellow Sea area. So if it happens, it was believed that all lies would be forgiven. Additionally, the first snow welcomes an abundant harvest for the following year.

Many people associate the first day of snow with remembering childhood memories. Because of this, people would come together to enjoy the sight of the first snowfall. Others believe that a wish would come true if you wish on the first snowfall.

It’s funny how in the Philippines, we don’t have that first rain thing. As a child, all I knew was that the first rain meant school break was almost over. The first rain is also a relief for the drought-stricken lands thus making farmers happy.

For the dreamy young ones, the first snowfall is romantic and imaginative. For our elders, it means it’s time for a pain reliever for their aching joints. In which category do you belong?

As for me, it’s plain and simple. Winter is coming.

Sources: The Korea Times, Koreabyme.com

  


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PinoySeoul.com: Winter is Coming
Winter is Coming
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