2. In ancient Korea, a simple change of hairstyle was for a long time a sign that a boy had grown into a man
In Korea, the earliest mention of coming-of-age ceremonies for young males can be traced back to the 10th century. This was a time when the Goreyo Dynasty ruled over the unified Korean peninsula. According to the records from the time, in the year 965, King Gwanjong gifted his son and heir an outfit that was usually worn by grown men. This gifting of adult clothing quickly came to be a popular method of showing that a boy had become a man. Then, over time, it merged with traditions imported into Korea from China and other neighboring cultures.
Later, during the Joseon Dynasty, which dominated Korea from the 14th to the start of the 20th century, coming-of-age ceremonies for middle and upper-class males became even more complex. Over time, the Chinese traditions of boys being given ‘adult’ hairstyles became increasingly commonplace. In particular, the Gwallye ceremony, which took place when a boy turned 15, saw the boyish long, flowing hair, tied up into a tight knot. This would symbolize to the rest of Korean society that the youth was now a man.