For many Korean Americans the Lunar New Year has meant buying a new wardrobe. The traditional hanbok has been a big part of that custom. But as NPR reports, changing priorities of the younger generation and the high cost of the hanbok has made it difficult to keep the Korean New Year tradition alive.
“I wish that my mother-in-law was still alive, and I wish that my wife had brothers and sisters,” said Berris Anderson who’s wife is Korean. “But she doesn’t. She’s an only child. So I think that if we don’t maintain it, then it can very well be lost,” he says.
Hanboks can cost several thousand dollars, so Youjung Jung got the idea of opening a Hanbok rental store six years ago in Queens. Designing and tailoring hanboks has been part of her family since her grandfather. But at 57, she admits the family tradition will likely end with her. Her children have no plans of carrying on the business.
“It’s a problem,” she said dejectedly.
You can read more about this tradition on NPR.
(photo credit: “Korean.costume-Wonsam-for.Queen.Joseon-01” by by tm-louis – http://flickr.com/photos/m-louis/293188324/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Korean.costume-Wonsam-for.Queen.Joseon-01.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Korean.costume-Wonsam-for.Queen.Joseon-01.jpg)