The end of festivities in the UK is near. Don’t be blue – pack away the Christmas tree and welcome the new year!
If you live in Korea, the most anticipated holiday of the year is just around the corner. Seollal also known as Lunar New Year falls on the second new moon after winter solstice. Sounds very magical, doesn’t it? The special occasion lasts for three days – the day before, the day of Seollal and the day after Seollal. This year Seollal/Lunar New Year falls on January 28th 2017.
Koreans look forward to the holiday because it is an opportunity to see their family and relatives (we wonder which K-celebrities will be travelling home this year…bring on the cute family pictures!) But there is a lot of preparation and things to do, so sit back and take notes to make the most of Seollal 2017.
Charye in Korean basically means performing an ancestral rite on a holiday like Seollal/New Year and Chuseok. This includes greeting the ancestor spirits with deep bows to express respect and gratitude.
Wear your finest hanbok on Seollal. The traditional Korean dress is usually worn on festive occasions or special anniversaries (for example their first birthday and their 60th birthday). The hanbok comes in vibrant colours such as red and blue and designs which has changed slowly but surely over the generations.
Rice cake soup called tteokguk is always served because it is thought to make everyone a year older. That’s right. Not only do you celebrate New Year but you celebrate your Korean birthday…which is everyone’s birthday. Make a joke with your grandfather by asking ‘how many servings of tteokguk have you had?’ to find out how old he is!
The rest of the day is spent storytelling and playing games. The most popular game is called yutnori, a board game that involves throwing four wooden sticks. Team up with your siblings and become a champion of yutnori this year.
The team at Inspire Me Korea wishes you a very Happy New Year! Let us know whether you will try some of these Korean traditions.