Celebration of Happiness (53)-Obangsaek(Traditional five colors in harmony)-(Korea)

Obangsaek (Traditional Five Colors In Harmony)

"Moderate Your Life And Be Flexible!"


Life is a matter of balance – of boundaries and contentment, of desires and harmony. Balance in life is not a given, one has to create it and maintain it in order to live a healthy life.


Obangsaek is a typical Korean term, associated with the traditional five colors that form a major part of their belief system and their way of living. But essentially, Obangsaek stands for a balance in life. It is a representation of the fact that we need everything to be in balance or else the wheel of life won’t turn smoothly. While the five traditional colors represent different elements and directions, each one of them is equally important as the other.



The traditional five colors of Korean tradition are essentially associated with the 5 cardinal directions: Blue: East, Red: South, Yellow: Center, White: West and Black: North. These colors are also associated with the 5 elements of the Korean traditions. Blue: Wood, Red: Fire, Yellow: Earth, White: Metal, Black: Water. All these elements and all these colors are considered essential for a healthy and prosperous life and thus, there should be a balance of the 5 in everyone’s life, in their meals and even in their movements. The focus is solely on maintaining a balance of the five colors from where originated the cuisine of Obangsaek which included dishes that are prepared with ingredients of each of the 5 colors.


In All Things, Balance!

Strike a balance in everything you do. Examine your life and find out which element you are missing out on. Work on it and get hold of the balance of your life. Living a life in harmony with all the elements is the best way to live.

This blog is inspired by: Secrets to Happiness from the Cultures of the World (Lonely Planet)


Piyuesh Modi