Three Type of Korean Bow Greeting You Need to Know!

korean bow greeting

If you came from Western country, you might wonder why Korean love to bow to each other in many occasion. In addition, there’s three different types of Korean bow greeting you might notice as you watch Korean drama.

Bowing is an essential part of Korean culture and etiquette since ancient times.

In this article, I will share my knowledge about the Korean bow greeting culture.

Let’s dig in! 

Table of Contents

Korean Bow Greeting

Bowing is a respectful gesture that show you honor the person you encounter.

It is a huge custom that most Korean observes, whether as a way to say hello, or thank you.

The history of Korean bow greeting culture traced back to the time of Confucianism in South Korea.

As we all know, Confucianism is a teaching that emphasize respect and honor towards one another.

Confucianism really values piety and respect to everyone, especially to the elders, that’s why Korean bow as a way to honor the elder, those in authority and also towards each other.

Three Types Of Bowing

There are three different types of Korean bow greeting depends on the situation and the context.

1. Easy Bow

korean bow greeting

Easy Bow is the simplest form of Korean bow greeting and the most informal type of Korean bow.

Most Korean do it when they meet someone they know well and also those who are in the similar age.

Just tilt your head slightly to show you honor them and glad to see them.

However, if you are meeting those in authority and the elders, you can use this bow if the situation force you to do it.

For example, if you meet an elder in a very narrow and crowded place where you can’t bow properly, then you can use this easy bow.

In addition, when you say thank you to the people serving you at restaurant or to the cashier at the convenient store, you can just casually do easy bow as you say thanks,

2. Belly Button Bow

korean bow greeting

Credit to asiancustoms

Belly button bow is a formal gesture where you put fold your hands and put it on your belly as you bow 45 degree to the person you honor.

You will find this gesture in department store, hotels, or in office where the workers do belly button bow to their CEO.

3. Big Bow | Keunjeol

korean bow greeting

This is the most formal Korean bow greeting known as ‘Keunjeol 큰절‘.

This Korean bowing gesture is done during important events like Seollal, Chuseok and Jesa (respect the ancetors in funeral),

You must form a triangle in your hands as you lower your whole head and body to the ground.

This type of Korean bow greeting is not done in our daily life, so never do it unless there’s a special occasion and events.

Korean Bowing Etiquette

One thing you need to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t move as you bow down.

Never be in a hurry and bow as you move to a certain direction, it is very rude.

Make sure you take your time to stand still facing the person you honor as you bow and say a proper greetings,

In addition, you want to look at the person’s eye as you greet them after bowing towards them.

That’s it about Korean bow greeting!

How  do you think about this unique Korean culture and custom?

How do you show respect and honor to the elder in your country?

Let me know in the comment sections below!

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