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Friday, January 6, 2012

The 1st Month of Lunar Calendar : 설날 Seollal from Day and Night

설날 taken from "Seol" means a new day "to be careful" or "to be discreet in one's behavior" was believed that good fortune for the entire year depended on what happened on the first day of the new year.
설날 is the most important celebration's day in Korea usually takes 3 days of holiday, when people gathered and spend time together with their families.
Seol usually falls on the second new moon after winter solstice which is in February or the end of month of January. This year Seollal will celebrate on 23th of January.

Lunar New Year's activities :

차례 Charye, 성묘 Seongmyo.
차례 Charye is the first activities that Koreans usually do in Seollal. Specific foods such as rice and soup, rice-cake and table for the ancentral rite will be setting in the main room of the house. Family members will take full bows in front of the family tablets. 성묘 Seongmyo is the ceremonial rites to honor the family's ancestral held in the gravesite. The food are placed in front of the tomb then the family members make wine offerings and bow toward the graves. After the rituals have been completed, the food is typically used for family picnic lunch at the gravesite. This two ceremonial are the most fundamental elements of the New Year celebrations.

세배 Sebae
After doing rituals for accentors, family members dressed in Hanbok. Traditional Korean dress and doing Sebae. Youngers are bowing to the elders and saying "새해 복 많이 받으세요" it means "I hope you have much good fortune and happiness in the New Year". Children bow to their parents, aunts uncles and grandparents. Small gifts like money, fruits or sweets will give from the elders to youngers.

 복조리 Bokjori
photo credit : Korean Air
복조리 is a bamboo strainer shaped like a dipper. It is a symbol of  luck and fortune. People in Korea usually hung the Bokjori on the wall between midnight of the last day of the year and the dawn of New Year's Day. It can be hung on the wall of thegive  room, hall or kitchen. Coins or coins in purse or taffy can be added to the scoops although orginally it is used to dip up washed rice as a relection of gook luck. Family members can give Bokjori as a present in Seollal.

떡국 Tteokguk

떡국 must served in the new year's day. 떡국 is a rice-cake soup which is made from thin slices of rice-cake rolls, leeks, eggs and meat. The preparation and partaking of this soup represents a greeting of the new year and a rebirth of all things. It is expected to eat more than 1 bowl of tteokguk in the Seollal. Besides the main food for Seollal tteokguk, rice-cakes with unique shapes are prepared also.


is a traditional Korean games usually played in Seollal. Four semicircular sticks called Yut 윷 played with a board game which drawn unto the floor called 말판.

photo credit : Seoul Korea on flickr.

photo credit by il_kap on flickr

 Winter season is the time to fly the kite. Commonly with rectangular kites with a bamboo frame and distinctive hole in the center.

널뛰기 Neolttwigi

널뛰기 is a Korean folk games usually play in outdoor. Participants stand on each end of the Neol (board) and jump, propelling the person opposite into the air. This games usually played with young girls.

Jegichagi and Paengichigi.
제기차기 is the outdoor Korean folk games with the player kicks a jegi up in the air and keeps on kicking to prevent from falling to the ground.

In a one-to-one game, a player with the most number of consecutive kicks wins. In a group game, the players stand in a circle, and take turns kicking the Jegi. Players who fail to kick the Jegi upon receiving it and let it drop to the ground lose. As a penalty, the loser tosses the jegi at the winner so that he can kick it as he wishes. When the loser catches the jegi back with his hands, the penalty ends and he can rejoin the game
Jegi is looked like a batminton shuttlecocks.

Paengichigi or top-spinning,

played by spinning a round wooden top on its pointed end by whipping it with strings attached to a stick. They use a wooden stick to keep the top in motion, and the one whose top spins the longest is the winner. It is a challenging game in which contestants try knocking down the other's top while keeping their own spinning.

According to folk legend, there exixted a spirit of the night known as Yagwangi. On the night of the first day of the New Year, it was said that this night would go around to people's homes, trying on shoes and taking a pair if he liked them. If your shoes were taken in this way, this was an omen of misfortune for the entire household during the coming year. So that all shoes were brought into the house. It was also customary to set off firecrackers on this night to scare off Yagwangi.

References :
Seasonal Custom of Korea by David E. Shaffer.

Video credits on Youtube :
[남인천방송 nib뉴스] 설 특집 뉴스 - 설 세배 바로 알기 Uploaded by marinboy58
2011년 설날 새배 Uploaded by devianHong
Korean Food: New Year Soup (TteokGuk=떡국) Uploaded by aeriskitchen
Korean folk game! - play with your baby or grandparents! Uploaded by HYEMINJUNG1
전통연의 계승자 리기태 선생 Uploaded by MrMakehope
제기차기 in Gumo Island Uploaded by maxzidell
Paengi A Traditional Korean Game Uploaded by zacharymosby
Lunar New Year Day 한국의 설날풍경 Uploaded by arirangnews

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