A lot of you are probably new to this celebration. Filipinos are only used to celebrating two new years in a year, the typical New Year every first of January and the Chinese New Year, every late January or early February.
China has not only been a big influence on our country but to Korea as well. Since they both follow the lunar calendar, it is understandable that they celebrate Lunar New Year at the same time.
But before we ask our Korean friends for rice cakes, let us first learn about their traditions during Seolnal!
Romanized: Seolnal or Seollal
The celebration usually lasts three days, depicting the before, during, and after. So how do Koreans celebrate the Lunar New Year? Like the rest of the world, Koreans go back to their families to celebrate the start of the year. And they also prepare a lot of food. But unlike other nationalities, Koreans take time to prepare specific food and offer worship to their parents and ancestors.
They hold jesa, a memorial ceremony for the ancestors wherein family members wear traditional Korean clothing known as hanbok. They also prepare dishes and alcohol that their ancestors liked. After setting the table, they light hyang or incense and do jeolhada, which means to bow to the ancestors as a sign of respect.
As for the traditional food, Koreans prepare either of the two soups, the tteokguk (tteok means ricecake and guk means soup) or manduguk (mandu means dumplings).
Seolnal is never complete without any of these two!
There are also traditional games that children are encouraged to play with their families. Among these traditional games, one of the most popular is the yutnori, a board game that involves throwing four wooden sticks and moving your game markers across the board, kind of like snakes and ladders, only we throw bigger dice of sorts.
Another popular game is the GoStop, which uses a deck of cards called hwatu. It’s a deck of small black, white, and red cards with different drawings. You’ve probably seen Koreans play it on certain KDramas.
Lastly, what’s a holiday without a proper greeting? Allow us to conclude this blog with this: