South Koreans are two years older than their international counterparts. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 normanack
A long-lived Korean tradition sees two years added to the age of newborn babies within their first 12 months.
The peculiar custom means that all babies automatically become one-year-old the very moment they are born, with another additional year of age being added when the calendar hits January 1st.
This means that everyone in South Korea is effectively two years older than they should be.
The bizarre nature of this system is perhaps best demonstrated by the case of Lee Dong Kil who received congratulatory messages following the birth of his 'one-year-old' son on December 31st.
At midnight - a mere two hours after the baby was born - he received a second round of messages to congratulate him on the fact that his newborn was now two years old.
"I thought, 'Ah, right. She's now two years old, though it's been only two hours since she was born,'" he said. "What the heck!"
It's a tradition that has received increasing amounts of criticism in recent years on the basis that it is a somewhat counter-intuitive concept in what is an otherwise modern, forward-thinking nation.
Earlier this year, politician Hwang Ju-hong tabled a new bill requiring the government to use a person's international age on official documents in place of their 'Korean age'.
Given how deeply ingrained the system is however, phasing it out may be easier said than done.
Source: ITV News | Comments (11)
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