I really love watching Korean movies and one of my favorites is A Millionaire’s First Love (백만장자의 첫사랑) which stars Hyun Bin (현빈) and Lee Yeon Hee (이연희). Anyway, I won’t be making any movie reviews in my post; I would just like to talk about the old Korean tradition of dyeing one’s nails with bongseonhwa (봉선화).
According to some posts in the net 봉선화 is a flowering plant commonly called garden balsam or rose balsam. It is scientifically named as Impatiens balsamina.
Here’s how it looks like.
I’m quite interested in the story behind this culture. There aren’t many articles posted in the net about it so I’m basing the facts from the two movies that I’ve watched featuring the said practice. One is in A Millionaire’s First Love (which I already mentioned a while ago) and the other one is Daddy Long Legs (Korean title: 키다리 아저씨) starring Ha Ji Won (하지원) and Yeon Jung Hoon (연정훈).
I took some screenshots from the film to show you how they do the dyeing process. [Click the photos to enlarge.]
This scene was taken at the beginning of the movie. I think its a form of foreshadowing or a hint to the viewers as to what will happen in the movie. Sorry I forgot, this isn’t a movie review. LOL.
Anyway, moving on. The same scene was also depicted in A Millionaire’s First Love. I captured the dialogue in the movie to show you the story of this old Korean culture.
Actually that’s not the whole dialogue. I only took the shots that are relevant to showing the point of dyeing your nails. Here’s the dialogue:
Eun-whan’s Guardian: Why (are you) dyeing your fingernails with flower juice?
Eun-whan: They’re black-edged. I can’t wait for the first snow.
Eun-whan’s Guardian: What’s the point? You’ve never been in love.
Eun-whan: I’m 19. I’ve been in love.
Eun-whan’s Guardian: It may come earlier for you Eun-whan.
According to what I remember from the movie, Korean women believed that if your nails are still orange by the time the first snow falls, you will find your true love. I’m not really sure if that’s the real story behind it. From what I read from other blogs, instead of finding true love you will marry your first love or you will marry your true love. It’s also their belief that it is used for warding off evil spirits. In my opinion, I guess that’s just how you see things your way. You may find that one true love, marry ’em and stay happy, or find that one true love and do nothing about it.
Anyway, here are some more shots from A Millionaire’s First Love. This one was taken when Jae-kyung (Hyun Bin’s character) asks Eun-whan (Lee Yeon Hee’s character) to dye his nails for him.
Isn’t that cute? He believes that he’ll find his love after dyeing his nails. Here’s another cute one. LOL.
He even starts to pick another one for his toes. LOL again.
Do you think dyeing my nails would give me my one true love? Unfortunately, it doesn’t snow here. LOL.
P.S. Want to color your nails too? Here are some useful reads: