Seollal is celebrated on the first day of the Korean lunar calendar, typically falling in late January or early February. One of the central aspects of Seollal is the performance of ancestral rites, known as Charye. Families gather to pay respects to their ancestors by offering food, drinks, and various ritual ceremonies. This practice emphasizes the importance of family ties and continuity between generations.


Sebae (New Year’s Bow): Sebae is a traditional New Year’s bowing ceremony where younger family members pay their respects to their elders. During this ritual, the younger generation offers a deep bow and wishes the elders good health and prosperity in the upcoming year. In return, elders may give blessings and often provide monetary gifts, known as “sebaetdon.”

Traditional Clothing – Hanbok: Seollal is a time when many Koreans don the traditional attire called Hanbok.

Special Foods: Seollal is synonymous with delicious traditional foods. Tteok (rice cakes) is a staple during this time, with various types and shapes symbolizing good fortune and prosperity. Additionally, a feast is prepared, featuring dishes like jeon (pan-fried battered food), galbi jjim (braised short ribs), and more.

Games and Activities: Families often engage in various traditional games and activities during Seollal. Yutnori, a board game using four wooden sticks, is a popular choice. Additionally, children may fly colourful kites or participate in activities like kite-making to usher in good luck. Kindergartens and academies will often hold special events and create crafts for students to take home.

Travel and Reunion: Seollal is a time for family reunions, and many Koreans travel to their hometowns to be with their loved ones. This mass migration, known as “charyeok,” results in bustling transportation hubs and a vibrant atmosphere across the country. In previous years Seoul has almost completely emptied for this, however, in recent years the effect has been less profound.

새해 복 많이 받으세요! Happy New Year!

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