Or in the English language....HAPPY NEW YEAR!! (Lunar)
Korea rocks! Not only do they celebrate New Year's Day here, they also get to celebrate Seollal, the Lunar New Year! Seollal is the favorite holiday of many Koreans. Most people go back to their home towns to perform ceremonial rites, and pay respect to their ancestors. What this means to most Americans is they get a long holiday! The kids I talk to on the phone have been out of school from Dec 24th, and they do not go back until the beginning of February. From what I understand, the Lunar New Year is more like the American Christmas. (Christmas in Korea isn't NEARLY as big of a deal as it is in the US.) Koreans prepare for Seollal weeks to months in advance. Koreans are very traditional. They prepare much of the meal the day before, a friend of mine told me that Seollal is a hard holiday for the women because there is so much work to be done. They prepare 20 plus dishes, and they all have to be up to par because the are honoring their ancestors with the meal. On New Year Day, Seollal, everyone wakes early to dress in Hanboks, traditional Korean clothing, and pays respect to their ancestors. 'According to Korean tradition it is believed that ancestors return to enjoy the holiday food prepared for them. An ancestral tablet is placed on the rites table along with all the dishes and drinks. This is to show appreciation and respect for late ancestors. The ancestral rites also symbolize the descendants’ prayers for a good new year.'
After the family eats the meal together (this is the part the kids REALLY like), it is time for the children to bow to their elders, to show respect...for the kids it is just to get the cash! :) When the children bow to their elders, each elder gives them good wishes and then gives them 10,000-30,000 won! They may only bow to each elder one time, but depending on how many elders they have, they can score a nice chunk of change. After bowing to their elders the family participates in traditional games.
So, there you have it, my interpretation of the Lunar New Year, Seollal, with a little help from this website and my friends.
Earlier in the week we were invited to a Lunar New Year office party. We attended at the ROK (Republic of Korea) Military Post. Here are a few pictures from that. In this first picture kids are playing traditional Korean games played on New Year's Day. Some of the children are wearing Honboks.
I swear, Boy 2 thinks he is a rock star! Women are constantly fawning all over him.
Boy 1 having a great time....again.
The MajGen passing out shots to the B-Boy, breakdancing group after their performance.
Hubby passing out shots to his friends....
Boy 3 thinks he is a SUPERSTAR!
Me and my Girl!
And this is my favorite picture of the night.....