▲ Photo courtesy The Cultural Heritage Administration
Finally, the special night tour to the ancient palace has come.
Did you know that when you visit ancient Korean palaces such as Gyeongbok Palace and Changgyeong Palace, if you wear a Hanbok you can get in for free?
▲ Photo courtesy hanbokplus
However, this policy has come under fire recently because of the strict guidelines on what men and women can wear.
Nowadays, for convenience, more women are wearing men's hanbok pants instead of the skirt found on traditional hanboks. However, in order to enter the ancient palace for free, women must wear a hanbok skirt.
▲ Photo courtesy yebok.com
The Cultural Heritage Administration has been providing free admission to those wearing Hanbok since Oct. 2013, but this guideline is currently under criticism.
According to the guideline of the Cultural Heritage Administration, men should wear male Hanbok and women should wear female Hanbok to get free admission.
The problem is that Hanbok should be worn properly for the gender, and from that concept, women will only be given free entry if they wear a Hanbok skirt, not Hanbok pants.
▲ Captured from royalpalace.go.kr
Q. When a woman visitor wears a Jeogori (Korean traditional jacket) and Hanbok pants (similar to a man’s Hanbok pants). Is this Hanbok?
A. No, Wearing Jeogori with Hanbok skirt will be only admitted.
Travellers were displeased with the guideline.
As time passes, unisex outfits are increasing so some modernized Hanbok for women provide Hanbok pants. This is to encourage people to wear them outside more often.
27-year-old Mrs. Lee, who recently has been wearing a traditional Hanbok and has visited the ancient palace, said, "It was inconvenient for me to wear a traditional Hanbok.There are many Hanbok pants for women nowadays. I would like the Cultural Heritage Administration to admit that it is okay to wear Hanbok pants for women."
Mr. Kim, who also doesn’t agree with the guideline said, “"If women wear a modernized Hanbok with pants, is it not a hanbok?" He insisted that “as time goes, it is essential to change traditional culture slowly.”
On the other hand, Mr. Seo supports the guideline. He said, “Why do you think it is a gender discrimination to wear a Hanbok according to your gender? In Asia, men and women's outfits are separated."
Despite the controversy, at the moment it doesn’t seem like there is much chance that the policy will be changed.
An official of the Cultural Heritage Administration at Gyeongbok Palace said, "It seems that wearing a Hanbok that doesn’t fit our guideline is not a good idea because Gyeongbok Palace is a palace representing Korea." And "We still claim that women should wear a Hanbok skirt in order to get free admission.”
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