Seollal: Korean New Year

The New Year is always an exciting time! 

Many of us will take the time to make New Year’s resolutions (that we may not always follow through with in the end), but they make for a fun bonding time with friends. Over the years I’ve come to realize I have a tendency to either make my resolutions too general or too hard to keep up. Waking up at 8 a.m. everyday? It’s torture by the fourth day!

If one of your goals for the New Year is to try new things, we’d love to have you stop by Seoulbox! Seoulbox is a Korean snack subscription company that sends our Seoulmates new and traditional snacks every month to try. They also include a monthly magazine to keep you updated on the latest news in the K-industry!

Ancestral Rites

Although it lands on January 1st, the same day as everywhere else, Seollal specifically signifies the Lunar New Year. Families will gather on this day to eat a well prepared meal together, and perform ancestral rites called Jesa. At a Jesa there is an elaborate setting of food in which the placement of the food holds significant meaning, and some families will wear Hanbok on this day. We have another blog that goes into detail of when individuals may wear Hanbok if you are interested!

Turning One Year Older with a Tteokguk 

A tradition that many Koreans hold is eating tteokguk on New Year’s Day. It holds the meaning of turning one year older as you eat the meal. This is because in Korea everyone legally turns one year older when the year resets. It’s a truly interesting tradition, and if you’d like to learn more about it check out “The Significance of Age: In Korea versus in Western Cultures.” 

New Clothes, New Me

Another tradition that is not as common as eating tteokguk is wearing new clothes! There is an old saying that if you eat well on Seollal, you will eat well for the rest of the year. This is why good food, new clothes, and being in the presence of family is found to be so important, as it is said to set the path of the coming year.

As we approach the end of the year, what are you hoping to accomplish in the New Year?

By: Suzy Choi


KpopWise is bringing you news, interviews, reviews and editorials about Kpop and Asian entertainment.

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