Today, let’s take the time to learn about Korean culture on this widely celebrated holiday!~
Here are 6 things you should know about 설날 (Lunar New Year’s Day in Korea):
1. 설날 (seol-lal):
설날 is one of the biggest holidays for Koreans! Just like the New Years for us ‘Muricans, 설날 is a momentous time of the year for families to come together and celebrate with lots of love, laughs, warmth, and of course, wonderful food!
2. 차례 (cha rye)
차례 is an ancestral rite performed on 설날. Traditional foods are specifically arranged and set on a ritual table where families bow to ‘greet’ ancestral spirits to express gratitude and pray for the family’s wellbeing throughout the upcoming year.
3. 세배 (sae bae)
세배 is a deep traditional bow often performed in respect to one’s seniors. In my family, we all gather and bow to our eldest grandparents and receive their wisdom and wishes for us!
4. 새해 복 많이 받으세요!~
This phrase is used especially when bowing to an elder. It means: “I wish you many blessings (much luck) this year!”
5. 세뱃돈 (sae baet don)
세뱃돈 is the New Year’s “gift of money”. After children perform the 세배 to family elders, they often receive some money (세뱃돈) as well as the wishes and wisdom that the elders impart on them. Korean 세뱃돈 can be likened to the money given in Chinese custom, 红包. (恭喜发财、红包拿来 hahaha)
6. 떡국 (tteok guk)
떡국 is a Korean traditional soup that is made and eaten with the family.
구정 and 신정: Korea has two New Year’s celebrations! On January 1st, the celebration of the solar new year is called 신정 (shin jeong), and the lunar new year celebrated in late January / early February is called 구정 (gu jeong)!
Happy Lunar New Year! 2017 is the year of the rooster, and it’s believed that anyone born under this sign will have a good year with plenty of luck and opportunities. To figure out which sign you are, simply look for your birth year!