Korean New Year / Seollal

Korean New Year or Seollal is one of three most important holidays in Korea to celebrate the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar. People in Korea consider Korean New Year much more important than the New Year in Western (Gregorian) calendar. Thus, the new year is celebrated for three days every year.

Date of Korean New Year

Korean New Year is the first day of lunar calendar. Due to different calculation between Korean lunar calendar and Western calendar, the date of Korean New Year in Western calendar vary from year to year. Normally, Korean people celebrate Korean New Year on the same date with Chinese New Year.

However, in a very rare moment (once in about 24 years) when the crescent moon appears at around 3 pm and 4 pm UTC, Korean New Year is celebrated on the day after Chinese New Year. This rare moment occurred in 2009, and the next occurrence will be in 2033.

When is Korean New Year 2014 / Seollal 2014?
2014 Korean New Year or Seollal will be celebrated on Thursday, 30 January 2014 until Saturday, 1 February 2014.

Korean New Year Celebration

Many traditions and ceremonies are performed to celebrate Korean New Year. Below are some Korean New Year traditions done by many Korean people every year.

Visiting Hometown
Many people in Korea use three days Korean New Year holiday to visit their hometown. In this way, they are able to gather with their big family and perform an ancestral ritual by paying respect to the older ones in the family as well as the ancestors.

Wearing Hanbok
Formerly, many Korean people wear hanbok, a colorful traditional Korean costume, during the celebration of Korean New Year. Nowadays, a lot of Korean children still wear hanbok, but the adults usually wear formal clothing instead of hanbok.

Eating Tteokguk
Tteokguk is a traditional Korean food which is usually eaten as a part of birthday celebration. Korean New Year is considered a birthday for all Korean people. Thus, they usually eat Tteokguk as one of Korean New Year traditions.

Performing Sebae
Sebae is a traditional ritual performed by children during the celebration of Korean New Year. In this tradition, children perform traditional bow to the elders (parents, uncles, grandparents) and wish them a happy new year while wearing hanbok. As a reward for the children, the parents usually give new year’s money in beautiful silk bags embroidered with words of wisdom.

Playing Folk Games
Many kinds of games are played during three days holiday of Korean New Year. Some of the games are yut nori or yunnori (a traditional board game of Korea), jegi chagi (a game in which light object is wrapped and kicked), neolttwigi (jumping on a seesaw game), gongginolie (a game played with plastic gonggi stone), and flying yeonnaligi (rectangle kites).

Happy Korean New Year 2014 !