Celebrate Lunar New Year like the Koreans!
The Lunar New Year or Seollal celebration in Korea falls on Monday (8 Feb) and will last for three days. Families and friends get together on the eve for a reunion dinner and for the rest of the celebration, pay their respects to their ancestors and visit each other's homes to exchange well wishes or reconnect in general. There are also folks who take the opportunity to travel, so do take note if you're a Hallyu fanboy or fangirl looking to visit South Korea – most businesses are closed during the Seollal period.
While we're stuck here in this part of the world, don't fret! There are still ways for you to feel like you're in the Land of Kimchi during the festive season – read on to find out how!
Wear a hanbok
올해도 추석이 찾아왔습니다. 가족과 함께하는 즐거운 한가위 명절 되시길 바랍니다. ^^ 앞으로도 씨스타의 활동에 많은 응원과 관심 부탁드립니다. I SWEAR 와 함께 하는 추석 되세요. pic.twitter.com/zqPOyECjvi— STARSHIP Ent. (@STARSHIPent) September 3, 2014
Before heading out for their Seollal celebrations, many Koreans put on their traditional dress, the hanbok, in bright and pretty colours to represent fresh hope for the future. Obviously, wearing a hanbok outside of Korea will attract curious, or worse, critical eyes, so you might have to get creative. How about a silk floral top and skirt combo if you're a girl, or pastel shades and harem pants if you're male?
Prepare some traditional Korean dishes
Take the chance to indulge in some family time this festive season by dining together, much like how the Koreans do the night before Seollal. If you're feeling adventurous, you might even try your hand at whipping up tteokguk, which is a soup with thinly sliced rice cakes. A variation of this is manduguk, where the rice cakes are replaced by dumplings. Another dish that would be great to share with the family is jeon, a Korean-style pancake that can be made with a variety of ingredients including beef, kimchi and potato mash. Alternatively, if you're more of a noodle person, try using potato glass noodles to make the Korea favourite japchae instead!
Honour your elders
A longstanding tradition during Seollal is for children to pay their respects to their elders in a ritual known as sebeh, where children perform a deep bow accompanied by the New Year greeting, "saehae bok mani badeuseyo", meaning "May you receive much fortune in the New Year". In return, they're given silk "luck bags" containing money and words of wisdom! This year, in keeping with the Seollal spirit, why not make time to spend the day with the elders in your family too?
Play traditional games, or fly a kite
After the main customary practices are complete, it's time for some games! Some of the more well-known traditional ones include arrow throwing, wrestling, and yutnori (pictured above), but the easiest – and perhaps also most symbolic – for you to try this festive season is kite-flying. You can make or buy one that represents a positive quality you'd like to have in the New Year, write your name, birthdate, and a phrase such as "bad luck be gone", then let it fly off from someplace elevated. Traditionally, Koreans let their kites fly really high before cutting the string so their dreams can take off!
From ONE to all our viewers, happy Seollal and saehae bok mani badeuseyo!