Goodbye, girls, hello, women

It was time to say goodbye to childhood for these 20-year-old South Korean students taking part in the 45th Coming of Age Day ceremony at the Namsangol Hanok Village in Seoul on Monday.

Coming of Age Day, which falls on the third Monday in May, is to celebrate those who have reached adulthood. The legal age of adulthood in South Korea used to be 20 but has been lowered to 19.

Women taking part in the ceremony braid their hair into a traditional chignon and pin it up with ornamental jade hairpins.

At the end of the ceremony, participants recite an oath to be responsible adults and bow to their parents, before being showered with gifts including alcohol, perfume and flowers. After reciting the pledge, participants are considered full-fledged adults.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2017, with the headline 'Goodbye, girls, hello, women'. Print Edition | Subscribe