Kimjang is an annual event held to make large amounts of kimchi in preparation for the winter in South Korea.
In ancient times, when food storage options were very limited, Kimchi was a major side dish during winter. Well fermented Kimchi served as a good source of protein, vitamins and other nutrients during the winter season, when vegetables were scarce. As Kimjang had to be done quickly in a short period time, during an one-month period between November and December, people had to help one another. Therefore, Kimjang became one of the largest household events in Korea.
By brining communities and households together to share in the labour, Kimjang came to form a unique part of Korean culture, in which people express their gratitude and affection for one another through the act of making Kimchi.
Kimjang has changed very little over time.
It is particularly rare for such an agriculture-based tradition from ancient times to have persisted and survived throughout the period of industralisation. For Koreans, Kimchi is a food that embodies the spirit of Korea and Kimjang culture, and displays the Korean people’s great capacity for cooperation, which is a major value and asset of Korean culture.
In 2013, Korea’s Kimjang was designated a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Once heritages are registered with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) , these cultural values are preserved and recognized worldwide. Numerous characteristics of Kimjang were highly evaluated, particularly the way in which Kimjang represents a culture that has been passed down for numerous generations of Korean families.
Kimchi, the representative fermented food of the Korean people and Kimjang culture have been recognised as important elements of Korean culture that represent the identity of the Korean people, who have long cherished a spirit of cooperation and sharing.