Family Time in Korea

Someone who I am in Korea with observed that Sunday is definitely family day in here. I reflected on why this may be the case. Here is what I came up with:

I notice that I see moms & dads (separately or together) with little wee ones all the time through the week, but not with school age children. Only on Sunday are they seen together. I think this is due to the high time demands of work and school in Korea. A person is expected to work 14+ hours a day. Many women stop working after having a child because of the high demands. Students, especially those in high school, routinely do not come home from school until 9 – 10 pm as they are in additional study classes after school. Elementary students come home on a sliding scale, quite early when young, later when older. There is no opportunity to have time with family during the week because of work and school..

That leaves Saturday and Sunday. If you are in high school, you attend additional classes to prepare for the very difficult university entrance tests – without an amazing score you will not be attending a ‘good’ university. Elementary students have the day filled with group activities, such as going to the museum or other outing (these places get quite packed on Saturdays I noticed). Parents also often work on Saturday’s.

Now, we are left with one day, Sunday, for family time. Why Sunday? Well, the religion with the largest number of followers is Christianity (Buddhism is second). Sunday is the traditional day of rest and worship for Christians.

When I think about my family, and the family time of friends, we spread out together time. Sometimes we go out for dinner on a Wednesday or Friday. Maybe we go to the beach on Saturday. And yes, sometimes we visit family on Sunday. We eat dinner together most nights. We can do this because school does not have the same demands on time in Canada as Korea.  When I spoke about this with Korean university students, they said in high school they ate dinner at school and saw their parents very little during the week.

Which is better, one concentrated day of family time or spread out togetherness? I know what I prefer, but I would be intrigued to hear from others.

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