Korean Culture: Lunar New Year, Seollal

Most of Koreans meet their friends on the eve of Dec.31 to celebrate the new year. However, there is another important festival to celebrate new year again! While, with their families, called Seollal(설날).

Seollal means the first day of lunar new year. In 2018, Feb.16th is the day. In Korea, we also call the lunar Jan. 1st 구정(舊正). Different countries have different ways to celebrate lunar new year. Today I will introduce some customs and one typical food that Koreans will eat on Seollal.

During the first morning of a new year, Koreans pay their respect towards their ancestors. Traditional foods are placed on a table as an offering to the ancestors, and a rite begins with deep bows from all family members. This is a sing of respect and a very important practice on the first day of the new year in Korea. It is also where they pray for the well-being of all the family members.

Besides that, the most typical Seollal food would be sliced rice cake soup, which is called 떡국(Tteokguk) in Korean. It is believed that eating tteokguk can grant the consumer good luck for the year and gain a year of age. I still remember one of my Korean colleagues once said that when she was young, she and her friends always expected to eat tteokguk which means they could grow up for another year. While after becoming an adult, everyone just hopes that time can fly slower that it really does.

I think that is a quite common emotion for everyone nowadays. Once when you think about 'time', you've already found that it has flown so quickly and we are becoming older and older. Please do not be upset about that, because that is the basic rule of our lives. What we should do is to save time and try our best to do whatever we really enjoy doing and make every second count. What do you eat and do in your hometown when new year comes? 


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