Thursday, July 22, 2010

해를 향해 보자

The Korean word for sunflower is '해바라기'. Initially, I had problem remembering it because it was a 'long' word. However, '해바라기' is actually quite intuitive after I learned to break it down into its two root words - '해' and '바라다'. '해' means sun and '바라다' has three meanings:

1. Wish or hope (for something you think of)
2. Desire (for something you want)
3. Face (something) and look (at it)

In the case of '해바라기', '바라다' takes the third meaning and the whole word means "face the sun". '해바라기' originated from the same-meaning Chinese word "向日葵". The question now is, which of the following sentence is correct?

1. sunflowers face the rising sun
2. sunflowers face the setting sun
3. sunflowers always face the sun
4. it's a misnomer, sunflowers don't face the sun

Frankly, I didn't know the answer until one afternoon when I was taking pictures of sunflowers in a field. I tried to find a sunflower that does not have the sun at its back because shooting into the sun can cause image to darken. But, after walking one round, I found none. It seemed like all sunflowers had 'conspired' to put the setting sun behind them. At that point in time, it hit me that sunflowers only face the rising sun. Now, that's awesome - imagine the scene of ten of thousands of sunflowers in a wide open field 'paying tribute' to the morning sun as it rises above the mountain peaks. (The truth of the matter is not only sunflowers face the morning sun but most plants do.)


  1. Good observation! 잘 배워 갑니다. ^^

  2. interesting fact ab out my fav flower:)