Seollal 2023

Lunar New Year's Day in Korea

“Seollal” is just around the corner in South Korea! It is a time for happiness and celebrations and the Lunar New Year

Most of us have heard of Chinese New Year, but did you know that Koreans celebrate the festival with their own traditions? If you are interested in Korean culture, you must already know of Seollal (설날) have heard, as it is by far the most important holiday in South Korea.

The date of Seollal changes every year as it follows the lunar calendar.

설날 is a family day . Everyone comes home and spends time together with food, rituals and much more...

The Origins of Seollal | Short introduction

Researchers aren't sure how long Koreans have been celebrating Seollal. Many say that Seollal rituals date back to the 6th century.

It was during the Three Kingdoms period in ancient Korea that the lunar calendar was first adopted.

At this time, Seollal (also called Seol by some) was one of nine important festivals dedicated to ancestral ceremonies.

Today, remembering ancestors is a common element of Korean New Year celebrations.

How is Seollal celebrated?

Like Chuseok, Korean New Year is a day to celebrate with family. Koreans usually return to their hometowns.

On this day, Koreans lead Ancestral rites through and carry it Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing), eat delicious food and play traditional games.

customs and traditions

There are a few traditions and customs. Here are some examples of traditions and customs that Koreans do during this Korean New Year:

  • Monument to the Ancestors or 차례 Charye: Like Chuseok, this ceremony takes place in the family home. Koreans prepare traditional dishes. The food is presented on a table behind which are family ancestral tablets, before which Koreans kneel to pay homage to those who came before them.
  • 세배 Sebae: another important ritual of the day. 세배 consists of paying homage to the elders by bowing on the first day of the year.
  • 세뱃돈 Sebaeton: After the Sebae The elders send their best wishes to the younger ones and give them a bag of money.
  • Other Hanbok: During Seollal, Koreans wear Hanbok, the traditional Korean clothing.

Many Koreans can tell you that they eat a lot during Korean New Year. Food is an important part of the vacation and Koreans take food preparation very seriously.

Below is a list of the most popular dishes eaten during Seollal!

Of course, drinking alcohol is also widely accepted!

  • 떡국 tteokguk
  • 전 Jeon
  • 갈비찜 Galbijjim
  • 잡채 Japchae
  • 한과 Hangwa
  • 만두 Mandu
  • 식혜 Sihkye

During Seollal, Koreans play many games, but the most famous is Yutnori 윷놀이 .

This board game is played between two teams and requires four special sticks that Yut (윷) are called.

These sticks (which are used like dice) are curved on one side and flat on the other. The teams take turns throwing the sticks in the air.
Players move their pieces based on how the sticks fall back down.

Another game that Koreans like to play is Nolttwigi 널뛰기.

The players face each other at both ends of the seesaw. One or two other people sit in the middle to secure the seesaw.

The first player jumps to propel the second into the air. The aim of the game is to get higher and higher in a continuous rhythm. Women love this game.

There are many other games, for example Go-Stop 고스톱 (goseutop), 투호 (tuho) and 제기차기 (jegi-chagi)...

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