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Korean Family

             One of the most important aspects of Korean society is its strong attachment to family. From birth to death, Korean people are usually thought as part of a family rather than an individual. Although the intensity of this strong tie to one's family is not as strong as it was in the past, it is still clearly visible.
             During the 16th century, family became more important than in the past. With the rise of the Neo-Confucian literati, one's lineage became one of the most important factors of one's life. At this time, the yangban society consisted of a few powerful families. One's connection with these families determined one's position in society. The delineation of an individual's relationship with others in his lineage could be found in the clan genealogy (chokpo). "Thus, the widespread compilation and publication of clan genealogies from around the beginning of the seventeenth century was due not only to the desire to demonstrate one's privileged standing as a yangban, but also to the fact that it made explicit one's connections with respected or powerful figures in the same lineage." Just as knowledge of lineage relationships was important, so was the performance of family rituals. .
             Based on the traditions of a society, an individual is accorded the respect and treatment befitting each new role he assumes after having successfully met and gone through the rituals associated with each major event in life. A person is perceived as a member of a social community: a family, a clan, and a village. The events in an individual's life are, therefore, considered those of the entire community. Accordingly, every constituent of a community has to go through the same rituals at the time and period in life stipulated by the society. Korean rituals and ceremonies were strongly influenced by Confucianism and Chinese culture. Among them, karye, the family rules of etiquette established by Chu Hsi introduced together with neo-Confucianism at the end of the Koryo Kingdom, were a direct influence and were established as the social norms of the Choson Dynasty.

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