May and Folk Customs

In May there are two of 24 seasonal divisions of the year: Ripha and Soman.

Ripha, which means the beginning of summer, falls on May 5 this year.

Soman, which means that wheat and barley begin to ripen, falls on May 21 this year.

In May, mountains are covered with green foliage and hot weather sets in.

In this period, the Koreans began to keep bees, harrow paddy fields to transplant rice seedlings and weed cotton fields.

Major foods in this season were a yeasted and steamed rice-cake, a pattern-pressed candy made of honey mixed with pine pollen, slices of boiled beef, fried eggs and shredded red pepper wrapped with parboiled parsley leaves, parboiled onions, etc.

The special foods in this season include mullet soup and steamed mullet of Pyongyang.

For olden times, the Pyongyang natives regarded it as the courtesy to serve their honoured guests with mullet soup, and other local people did not say that they had been to Pyongyang in case of their failing to have mullet soup.

Such folk games as a lantern game and fireworks display were played in this season.