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What’s Going On This Month: February 2018

Sadly, it’s the last month of Winter, or Summer depending on which hemisphere you live in. There are many exciting things happening this month, the most anticipated being…The Winter Olympics!!!…right? Well, it’s not exactly the only big thing happening this month, especially for Koreans 🙂 We’re so excited to share some of the awesomeness that is happening in Korea this month with you all! Let’s get right into it!

 

~Tae-Baek Mountain Snow Festival  태백산 눈축제~

© Tae-Baek Snowflake Hike, livetravelteach, 11.12.2017, http://livetravelteach.com

© Tae-Baek Snowflake Hike, livetravelteach, 11.12.2017, http://livetravelteach.com

Dates: January 19th – February 11th  (Runs for 24 days.)

Location: Tae-Baek Mountain National Park, Hwang-Ji Pond, 365 Safetown, etc. (People will be celebrating all over Tae-Baek.)

Admission: Free (Separate activity and food costs may apply.)

The first Tae-Baek Snow Festival took place in 1994, and it has continued every year without fail since then. People of the city of Tae-Baek love this festival dearly.

© Tae-Baek ice cafe, habkorea, 11.12.2017, https://www.habkorea.net

© Tae-Baek ice cafe, habkorea, 11.12.2017, https://www.habkorea.net

So what kind of things can we expect from this festival?

Well, there is a variety of fun and exciting activities for everyone to enjoy. From ice sculpting and dog sledding to ice skating, snow sliding, parades, the snowflake hiking competition, perhaps the odd snowball fight with friends and total strangers alike and so much more. There are delicious street foods and traditional snacks sold at all times not to mention the ice cafes. Also, Tae-Baek is known for their Han-Woo barbeque (It’s the best!) From professionals, rookies, uni students, and the elderly, to children, school students, and foreigners too! People from all walks of life come together to enjoy the Tae-Baek Mountain Festival!

In Korea at the time? Why not take a few days to check out the Tae-Baek Mountain Festival! We’re sure you’ll love it!

 

~Pyeong-Chang 2018 Olympic Games~

© Pyeong-Chang 2018 sign, olympic, 11.12.2017, https://www.olympic.org

© Pyeong-Chang 2018 sign, olympic, 11.12.2017, https://www.olympic.org

Dates: February 8th – February 25th.

Location: Pyeong-Chang.

Admission: For ticket prices, you can visit the Pyeong-Chang 2018 official website.

© Soohorang, olympic org., 11.12.2017, https://www.olympic.org

© Soohorang, Olympic org., 11.12.2017, https://www.olympic.org

The spirit of the 2018 winter games is evident in the adorable mascot Soohorang! (So CUTE~) In Korea, the white tiger is seen as a symbol of protection, a guardian. The name ‘Soohorang’ is a combination of ‘sooho’ meaning protection and ‘rang’ which comes from the word ‘ho-RANG-i’ meaning tiger, however, ‘rang’ is also the ending letter of ‘Jeong-seon Ah-ri-rang’ a well-loved traditional folk song in the province of Gwang-Won. (Where the games will take place.)

© Dragon Valley Ski Resort, commons.wikimedia.org, 11.12.2017, https://en.wikipedia.org

© Dragon Valley Ski Resort, commons.wikimedia.org, 11.12.2017, https://en.wikipedia.org

The Olympic torch, designed by Young Se-Kim, is 700mm in length mirroring the altitude of Pyeong-Chang. (Which is 700 meters above sea level.) White and gold have been chosen as the official colours for the torch relay. There is a five-angled base to the torch, the five angles represent the spirit of the sport, connecting people of all races, religions, cultures, genders, and nations, as well as the five continents, all united under the passion and love for the Olympic Games. All in all, we think it’s safe to say South Korea is pretty excited about hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics! We can’t wait! If you’re going to be in South Korea for the Winter Olympics, make sure to let us know!

~Korean Lunar New Year 설날~

© Tteokguk (rice cake soup), VisitKorea, 11.12.2017, http://english.visitkorea.or.kr

© Tteokguk (rice cake soup), VisitKorea, 11.12.2017, http://english.visitkorea.or.kr

Dates: February 15th to 17th.

For many of us, New Year’s day is on the 1st of January, however, for most Asian countries New Years takes place according to the Lunar Calendar! Furthermore, Korean New Year is probably the most significant of all holidays in South Korea.

© Korean Temple, officeholidays org., 11.12.2017, https://www.officeholidays.com

© Korean Temple, officeholidays org., 11.12.2017, https://www.officeholidays.com

What is the prime importance of the Korean New Year?

To pay respect to the ancestors, but, also to bring the family together, to celebrate family and happiness basically.  Generally, gifts are given to family members, new clothes are worn, and tteok-guk is traditionally eaten. Traditional games are played, stories are told, and people laugh and talk for hours, basking in the well-deserved family and rest time.

© Tray of traditional Tteok, crazykoreancooking, 11.12.2017, http://crazykoreancooking.com

© Tray of traditional Tteok, crazykoreancooking, 11.12.2017, http://crazykoreancooking.com

Plan on traveling in Korea at this time?

Although this all sounds lovely, if you are traveling in Korea at this time, it would be wise to take into account that Korea is already busy and bustling most of the time, however, during Korean New Year,…it doubles…so what usually takes 2 hours travel time will take 4 hours. Also, most modes of transportation will be booked and the roads will be extremely busy, lots of shops and restaurants will be closed for the holiday. But, if you feel like joining in on the fun, there are many recreational centers that are open and host folk games and sell traditional foods for families and foreigners too! Either way, it will definitely be an experience. 😀

Last but not least, if you are in Korea for Korean New Years you might want to know how to say ‘Happy New Year’ in Korean, right? “Sae-hae-bok  Manh-i Bad-eu-se-yo!”/”새해 복 많이 받으세요” is the polite way to say Happy New Year to any of your Korean friends.

What do you think? Interested in any of the events taking place this month? Did we miss an event you’re super hyped about? Let us know, we would love to chat with you~ 🙂

Featured Image Source: © Tae-Baek Mountain, livetravelteach, 11.12.2017, http://livetravelteach.com

Want to experience more of Korean culture? Why not subscribe now to the Inspire Me Korea CULTURE box to receive a box of goodies sent to your door every month? We ship internationally! Find out more here

Matthew Keeler

American-born Australian planning on making Korea my home. 4-Dimensional optimist :D Love life and live with no regrets. Be yourself, and treat everyone with kindness.^^

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