Korean New Year: How to Celebrate the Day?

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Korean New Year, also known as Seollal, is a traditional holiday in South Korea that marks the beginning of the lunar calendar. It typically falls between January and February, and is celebrated over a three-day period.

Korean New Year is an important holiday for families, and many people return to their hometowns to spend the holiday with loved ones. Traditional activities include bowing to one’s elders, playing folk games, and eating traditional foods. People also wear traditional hanbok clothing during the holiday.

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History of Korean New Year

Korean New Year has been celebrated for centuries. The holiday marks the beginning of the lunar calendar, and it typically falls between January and February. The history of Seollal can be traced back to the Three Kingdoms period of Korean history, around the 4th century AD. During this time, the Silla kingdom adopted the lunar calendar and began celebrating the first day of the lunar year as a national holiday. Over time, the holiday evolved and various customs and traditions were added.

During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the holiday became even more important and was celebrated with great fanfare. The royal court would hold grand ceremonies, and the people would participate in traditional games, food, and festivities.

Today, Seollal is still an important holiday for many Koreans, and it is celebrated with many traditional customs and activities. It is a time for family, tradition, and celebration and an opportunity to honor one’s heritage and to reflect on the past year, as well as to look forward to the new year with hope and optimism.

How to Celebrate the Korean New Year?

Here are some ways to celebrate Korean New Year or Seollal:

  1. Wear traditional Korean clothing: Many people wear traditional hanbok clothing during the holiday to celebrate their heritage and to honor their ancestors.
  2. Visit family: It is an important holiday for families, and many people return to their hometowns to spend the holiday with loved ones.
  3. Bow to elders: One of the main customs of Seollal is the Sebi, where younger generations show respect and gratitude to their elders by bowing and wishing them good luck and happiness.
  4. Memorial service: Another important tradition is the Charye, a memorial service held in honor of ancestors. Family members gather to offer food and drink to their ancestors, and to pay their respects.
  5. Folk games: People play traditional folk games such as yunnori, a board game similar to parcheesi, and neolttwigi, a traditional Korean seesaw.
  6. Traditional food: Enjoy traditional Korean food such as tteokguk, a rice cake soup, and ddeokguk, a savory rice cake soup, which is often eaten on Seollal.
  7. Learn about Korean culture: Take the time to learn more about Korean culture and its history, visit a Korean cultural center or museum, or watch a traditional Korean performance.
  8. Share your experience: Share your experience of celebrating Seollal on social media using the hashtag #KoreanNewYear
  9. Learn the language: Learn some basic Korean phrases and words to use during the holiday and make the most out of the celebration.
  10. Be open-minded: Remember to be open-minded and respectful of the customs, traditions, and beliefs of the Korean culture during this holiday. Remember that the celebration of Seollal is an opportunity to learn and appreciate the rich and diverse culture of Korea.

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