Traditions of Celebrating Seollal

Seollal is a New Year in Korea in Lunar Calendar, is one of the most celebrated national holidays in Korea. This year’s New Year will be on January 28 lasting 4 days till the end of this month. 


More than just a holiday to mark the beginning of a new year, Seollal is truly a special occasion for Korean people. Not only is it a time for paying respect to ancestors, but it is also an opportunity to catch up with family members. During Seollal, Koreans usually wear hanbok (traditional clothes), perform ancestral rites, play folk games, eat traditional foods, listen to stories and talk well into the night. Read on to discover how Koreans celebrate Seollal.


Every family is busy with the preparations!



In Korea, the rush to prepare for Seollal begins one week beforehand. Food is prepared in advance and people begin to purchase and package gifts for their parents and relatives. Another crucial part of preparing for Seollal for many people is making travel arrangements to visit their hometowns. There is a mad rush to book buses, trains, or plane tickets before they all sell out. Traveling during the holiday can take over two to four times the normal travel time due to heavy traffic.



The day of Seollal: Ancestral rites and traditional games!


Celebrations have changed from the past but in general, the morning of Seollal begins with the family members gathering in their seolbim (special clothing for Seollal) for an ancestral rite. The ritual is conducted to express respect and gratitude to one’s ancestors. Following the rite, everyone gathers together and eats the ritual food. The main dish of the day is tteokguk, a traditional soup made with sliced rice cakes, beef, egg, vegetables, and other ingredients. In Korea, eating tteokguk on New Year’s Day is believed to add a year to one’s age.

After the meal, the younger generations of the family pay respect to their elders by taking a deep bow called sebae, and by presenting them with gifts. Then, the elders offer their blessings and wishes for a prosperous year. Children often receive sebaetdon (New Year’s money) as a Seollal gift. For the remainder of the day, family members play traditional folk games, eat food, and share stories.


What to give as a gift? The answer is right here 

Seollal gifts vary each year depending on economic situations and gift trends, but the most popular ones are department store gift cards and cash. Popular gifts for parents include ginseng, honey, health products, and massage chairs. Other common gifts include toiletry gift sets such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc., and gift baskets/sets composed of Spam, tuna, hangwa (traditional sweets and cookies), dried or fresh seafood, hanu (Korean beef), and fruit.


Everybody knows that this year is the Year of Red Rooster? Do you know why? 




Every year is represented by one of the 12 zodiac signs, which take the form of twelve guardian animal deities collectively known as Sibijisin. These signs change with every year, rotating over a 12 year cycle.

The year 2017 is referred to as Jeongyunyeon (‘Jeong-‘ means ‘red’ and ‘-yu’ means a rooster) or “The Year of The Red Rooster.” The rooster is the tenth animal deity among the Sibijisin, which literally means “twelve (sibi) gods of the earth (jisin).”



Now you have the idea about Korean New Year!  Wish you Happy New Year

새해복 많이 받으세요!!


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