lunar new year

write write.. yes I will write.. soon.. when my mood goes up again.. oh boy sometimes people forget how hurtful simple words can be

I actually wanted to write about 떡만두국 or rice cake soup with dumplings since I had a yummy bowl at Apgujung last month. But after researching the recipe, and finding out that it’s related to the lunar new year/설날, which pretty much resembles the well-known Chinese New Year but with different rituals and traditions. Fun fact about this year celebration is that this year the Lunar New Year will be celebrated on Valentine’s day!! 14 FEBRUARY 2010!! YEAR OF TIGER

Having raised in a family that still have a little bit of Chinese tradition here and there, I’m pretty familiar with the Lunar New Year. I was and still am excited for the red pocket, I missed the family gathering, and all the festivity that comes along with it. *oh btw, I’m a rabbit! <-random fact! lol* Since the Korean Lunar New Year is pretty much the same, researching on this theme doesn’t only give a chance to learn new stuffs but it also alows me to understand better the traditions that I’ve been doing all these years, but from a different perspectives. =)

The Korean traditional holidays are celebrated according to the lunar calendar. Among the celebrations like Daeboreum also refer to as Boreumdaal (the first full moon), Dano (spring festival) and Chuseok (harvest festival), seolnal held the biggest proportion as it marks the very first day of the year.

How did the Chinese and the Western calendar system come to Korea? well, I couldn’t help but to copy the facts from our dear friend wikipedia:

The traditional calendar designated its years via Korean era names from 270 to 963. Then Chinese era names were used until 1895 when the official use of the lunar calendar ceased.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted by the new Korean Empire on 1 January 1895, but with years numbered from the foundation of the Joseon Dynasty in 1393. From 1897, Korean era names were used for its years until Japan annexed Korea in 1910. Then Japanese era names were used to count the years of the Gregorian calendar used in Korea until Japanese occupation ended in 1945.

From 1945 until 1961 in South Korea, Gregorian calendar years were counted from the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BCE (regarded as year one), the date of the legendary founding of Korea by Dangun, hence these Dangi (단기) years were 4278 to 4294. This numbering was informally used with the Korean lunar calendar before 1945 but is only occasionally used today.

In North Korea, the Juche calendar has been used since 1997 to number its years, based on the birth of Kim Il Sung.

  • The Chinese zodiac of 12 Earthly Branches (animals), which were used for counting hours and years;
  • Ten Heavenly Stems, which were combined with the 12 Earthly Branches to form a sixty-year cycle;
  • Twenty-four solar terms (jeolgi 節氣 절기) in the year, spaced roughly 15 days apart;
  • Lunar months including leap months added every two or three years

Why I just copied and pasted those stuffs? because it doesn’t reach my understanding, just yet! LOL

On lunar new year, people gather at their hometown or anywhere with their family members. A lot of people still use hanbok/한복, the traditional outfit.. Children are given pocket money, fruits and /rice cake snack *I assume this should be the sweet assorted one*, and word of wisdoms. People waits for the sun rise, others play Jishin Balgi (lod gongs and drums) to shoo away the bad evil spirits of the old year.


The most important one is on this day, ancestral ceremony or 차례/altar to the ancestor is served. The younger generations will perform Sebae/deep bow and wish good luck for the new year to the elders *새해 복 많이 받으세요*

Have you noticed that Korean age (or Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian and Viatnamese) is older 1 or two year than the western age?! well.. instead of the birth day, this day is the day where you add one more 살/age to your life! =) and to mark the getting older day, the tteokguk 떡국 is served.


Iono if the still do this but

Many traditional games are associated with the Korean New Year. The traditional family board game yutnori (윷놀이) is still a popular pastime. Traditionally men and boys would flykites and play jaegichagi (제기차기), a game where a light object is wrapped in paper or cloth, and then kicked in a hacky sack like manner. Korean women and girls would have traditionally played neolttwigi(널뛰기), a game of jumping on a seesaw (시소), while children spun peng-i (팽이).

Oh wow.. this post alone will lead me to a number of new researches! hahaha I hope I have the time! I’ve seen many of the new year scenes from a number of Variety Shows.. Truly indeed, like any other New year celebration, no matter if its African Asian, Western, or whichever, it IS a celebration of family and community. *so mom, where’s my red pocket?! hahaha*

Credit: Flickr


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