The Korean New Year is accurately similar to that of the Chinese New Year celebration except for a few differences in language and culture. The Korean New Year is one of the most important traditional Korean holidays that usually occur in January or February on the second new moon after the winter. It marks the first day on the Korean calendar.
The Korean New Year is a cultural holiday that has its roots embedded deep into traditional Chinese Confucianism and it is celebrated for three days: The day before Korean New Year, Korean New Year itself, and the day after the Korean New Year. The Korean New Year is also greatly influenced by their 12 zodiac animals. Koreans strongly believe that the animal representing the year will have its attributes passed on to the baby who will be born in that year. There are even parents who plan the birth year of their children in accordance with this belief.
During the Korean New year celebration, there is a large flurry of activities that is conducted to emphasize the festivity and cultural tradition of the New Year. One of the best features of the Korean New Year is the custom of giving and receiving gifts. Gift-giving does not only happen with families and friends but also in the workplace when companies usually offer their employees gifts as well. After all, the best way to celebrate is with gifts.
What do Koreans do on Korean New Year?
While the westerners all celebrate New Year on January 1st, the Koreans don’t do such as they celebrate theirs on the Lunar New Year’s Day. In the year 2022, this will be happening on February 1st. During this festive period, there are a lot of things that do happen to make the celebration worth its while. Families and friends travel from far and near to be together to pay respect to their ancestors. They eat a lot of food, play traditional and folk games and give gifts to one another.
What are the Facts about the Korean New Year?
One fact about the Korean New year is that; ‘after they eat the foods, the young members of every family perform a ritual called ‘Sabae’ or the ‘New York’s bow’ which is the act of bowing deeply. Secondly, people prefer wearing traditional clothing to celebrate the big day. South Koreans wear what is called ‘Hanbok’ and this attire is beautifully designed with embroidered patterns and colors. Another one is that people wake up early and rush to the market to buy ‘Bokjori’ which are Bamboo strainers. They hang this high on their walls to bring or catch good luck and fortune. Another one is that Koreans hide their shoes because they believe that if a person’s shoes are missing, it’s because ghosts have taken them away and that means that bad luck will follow that person for the whole year.
What kind of Foods do Koreans eat on the Korean New Year?
Koreans sometimes go full-blown traditional with the recipes of the foods they prepare on the Korean New Year celebration. Here is a list of some of their best dishes during the Korean New Year celebration:
- Tteokguk also known as Korean Rice cake soup
- Manduguk also known as Korean dumpling soup
- Kimchi Mandu also known as Kimchi Dumplings
- Heart Matsal Jeon also known as Heart shaped imitation crab omelettes
- Hobak Jeon (Pan Fried Zucchini)
- Galbi Jjim(Korean braised short ribs)
- Japchae(Korean glass noodles stir fry)
All these traditional dishes are deliciously made and styled to fit the festiveness of the celebration. Nothing beats eating good food on a holiday paired with families and friends.