Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Happy Korean Lunar New Year: How Much Do You Know About Seollal(설날)?

Happy Korean Lunar New Year: 
How Much Do You Know About Seollal(설날)?

Everyone in all over the world welcomes New Year. East Asian people celebrate 2 new year’s day: January 1 like any other countries and Seollal(설날, Korean lunar New Year’s Day). 

This year’s Seollal is from January 27 to January 29(January 30 is extra holiday). It is one of the biggest national holidays in Korea. All relatives get together and enjoy their holidays’ with their families. Let me tell you about Seollal

1. Origin of Seollal
Seol(설) is not exactly known when it is used at first. 
However, there are several theories about Seol

● It means praying for happy new year’s without anything bad happens. 
● It means it is sad getting older.
● It means that it is not a familiar year.
● It means making new year stand up

2. What did and do Koreans do on Seollal?
As you can see Seollal consists of 3 days: Lunar New Year’s eve, Lunar New Year’s Day, and Next day of Lunar New Year’s day.  

 1) On lunar new year’s eve, children wore a new clothes and said hello to the neighbors. It was called old new year’s bow. In addition, if it had snowed on this day, people believed it might be a rich year. 
These days, people just prepare some food for the ancestral rites for the next day and enjoy their family time. 

 2) On lunar new year’s day, people had ancestral rites. On this day, people prepared a lot of food for the ancestors and bowed to them praying for a rich year. The ancestral rites were held twice; one was had in the house and visited ancestors’ grave. After that, people said hello to each other( it is called Sebe, 세배 new year’s bow) and said something nice for the year. 

People still have ancestral rites and visit ancestors’ grave with a lot of delicious food. Every ancestral rites might be different according to their families or local. After that people do Sebe and say nice things to each other. 

  ◎How to do Sebe(세배)

  Sebe is mentioned that it is one way to say hello. 
  It is mostly say hello to the elder and there is a proper way. 
  First, you need to know that there are difference between man and woman. 

  [For man]
Put your left hand on your right back of your hand. Raise your both hands until your eyes and then put them on the bottom going down your left and right knees. Put your left foot on your right foot and bow your head. After that raise your head up, draw up your knees putting your hands on the knee. Finally raise your both hands until your eyes again & down and nod. 

  [For woman]

Put your right hand on your left back of your hand. Raise your arms as horizontally and put your forehead on back of your hands. Go down your left knee. At this moment, put your left foot on your right foot. Nod your upper body a little bit and draw up your right knee first and stand up. Finally put your hands down and nod. 

 3) On the next day of lunar new year’s day, people played traditional plays and predicts their new year like Yut(윷, Korean traditional play).
These days, people relax their day’s with their families. 

There is something we have done long ago, but we do not these days. 

▲▲▲This is Bokjori(복조리, a lucky bag)

  -Burn some hair: It’s not put fire on your hair. People burned their collected hair for 1 year to avoid bad things or ghosts.
  -Hang a Bokjori(복조리, a lucky bag): To get happiness and luck
  -Cast out demons: People hid their shoes on lunar new year’s eve. Because they believed ghosts looked around to find their shoes and went up. If someone lost their shoes, it was believed that it might be a bad year. 

3. What do Koreans have on Seollal?

Have you heard about Tteokguk(떡국, rice-cake soup)? 
On Seollal, Koreans have Tteokguk. Why people have Tteokguk on Seollal
It means you are getting an age and make your body and mind clean. Also Tteokguk’s Tteok(떡국 떡) means long life as the shape of Tteok. They enjoy their Tteokguk with various foods. 

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