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Get To Know Seollal (설날)

In South Korea, Seollal (설날) is one of the significant traditional Korean holidays. The first day of the Korean lunar calendar is celebrated on this special holiday. The holiday is celebrated over several days. Family get-togethers, Korean rituals, eating traditional foods, playing folk games, and other traditional activities are all part of the celebration.

The year of the Water Rabbit is 2023. On January 22, 2023, the Lunar New Year begins and lasts until February 9, 2024. Korea's citizens are about to become one or two years younger as a result of a new law that was passed late last year. On Lunar New Year's Day, Koreans have traditionally added one year to their age, but that will change this year. Babies were considered to be one year old on the day of their birth under the traditional system, and an additional year was added on New Year's Day, making their Korean age one or two years older than their "international age."

Seollal/Lunar New Year’s: Traditional Foods

There are lots of foods that people in Korea and around the world eat during Seollal day or Lunar New Year. Some of them have special meanings and maybe can only be found during this occasion. So, let’s talk about some of them!

Tteokguk (떡국)

Tteokguk consists of two words: “tteok” 떡 (rice cake) and “guk” 국 (soup). As its name, this food is made of rice cake and is the special main course on Lunar New Year’s Day (Seollal) in Korea. The overall look of Tteokguk is often very colourful just like most of the other Korean dishes. It’s garnished with thinly sliced egg, meat, chilli, and green onion. For Koreans, eating tteokguk on Seollal symbolizes luck and new starts

Jeon (전)

Fish (鱼)

Niángāo (年糕)

Seollal/Lunar New Year’s: Acts/ Rituals

  • Charye, a highly structured act of ancestor veneration, is traditionally performed by the family. Charye involves male relatives serving food to ancestors while female relatives prepare the food. By eating the food and receiving the ancestor's blessing for the upcoming year, both sexes take part in the "eumbok," the final step of the ceremony. The food that the ancestors prepared varies by region, but the rules, like where to put the food, are generally the same.

  • Sebae, the act of kneeling on the ground and deeply bowing with your hands on the ground, is regarded as one of the most significant traditions. On this day, the younger members of the family typically offer their blessing and bow to their elders. They bow deeply to show their respect for their elders. The elders exchange greetings for Sebaetdon, or New Year's money. Hanbok, a traditional Korean dress worn on important occasions like Seollal, Chuseok, and others, is also essential for the individual to follow this custom. "Saehae bok mani badeuseyo," which means "I hope you receive luck and prosperity in the new year," is uttered while bowing. This is also an important part because it demonstrates their love and intention for their family. During Seollal, it is important to be with family.

Seollal's Trivias

Seollal is completely integrated into Koreans' lives a long time ago. Thus, it is nigh impossible for it to be not plagued with interesting stuffs. Hence, here are the fun trivias that you might like to feast on:

Trivia #1: Did you know that the celebration of Seollal, or Korean New Year, happens every second new moon after the winter solstice? This marks the first day of the Korean Lunar Calendar.

Trivia #2: Did you know that the famous Korean Age System occurs during Seollal? In fact, Koreans grow one year older at the same day rather than their individual birthdays.

Trivia #3: Did you know that just this year, on June 2033, the above-mentioned age system will be abolished and deemed not permitted to appear on official documents? Instead, the Korean Government saw it proper to follow suit with the internationally recognized method.

Trivia #4: Did you know that in lieu of just saying "Happy New Year," Koreans would rather say "Please receive multiple fortunes and blessings in the new year!"

Trivia #5: Did you know that a night before Seollal's eve Koreans would hide their shoes and wear a different pair? Because they believe that ghosts would come to the world at this time, and the possibility of taking their footwears is a sign of bad luck — like if you find the other pair of your shoes missing.

Seollal's Myths/Facts

1. Bokjori, – bamboo strainer used for washing rice before cooking, people will hang this strainer high on their house’s wall to bring/catch more good luck and fortune.

2. The embroidered patterns and the colours of on Hanbok represent the ceremonial nature of the Hanbok to reflect the social status.

3. Set table rules with proper fresh food.

4. Families get together to celebrate the spirit of this day, traditionally.

5. People hide their shoes a night before Seollal eve, to avoid ghosts and the bad luck.

6. Exchanging gifts with vary depending on economic situations and trends.


Written by :

  • Khadija Naveed,

  • Ledi Angraeni/ Manan,

  • Calixto T. Del Rosario III,

  • Etika Sukma Adiyanti

©2022 Social Media Team, All rights reserved

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khadija Naveed
khadija Naveed
Feb 15, 2023

Tumbes up credit goes to all team members.

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