Lunar New Years in Korea

The Lunar New Year is one of the biggest Korean holidays (next to Chuseok). It was from February 15-17th this year. The exact dates vary from year to year, depending on the phases of the moon.


Credit: the Chosun Ilbo

Korean New Years is called Seollal (설날), and during this time, many families return to their ancestral hometowns. During this celebration, many families will visit their ancestors’ graves, and clear away any weeds, or light a candle, or burn incense. They hold a short ceremony honoring their ancestors.

They also eat traditional foods such as a rice cake soup called “Tteok guk”, along with other foods like kimchi, pajeon (a Korean-style pancake), and other various side dishes. After the meal, children will bow to their elders while wearing a hanbok (Korean traditional clothing), and then will receive New Years money called “saebae don” as a gift. Families also play traditional games such as “Yut Nori”, or share folk tales.

It’s a fun holiday for remembering where one came from, and catching up with family.

You can read more about the holiday here and here.

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Filed under Holidays, Korea, Korean Culture, New Year, South Korea, Teaching

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