Seollal (설날), or Korean New Year, is the first day of the lunar Korean calendar and is the most important traditional Korean holidays.

Koreans celebrate Seollal in traditional Hanbok
Koreans dressed in traditional hanbok to celebrate Seollal (Image courtesy of Korea.net)

Seollal is normally celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year, but there are based on two different Lunar Calendar instead…

The Koreans and Chinese would celebrate their New Year on a different day once every 24 years on average, where the Seollal would come a day later than Chinese New Year.

The traditional celebration of Seollal shared some similarities with Chinese New Year; after all Korean traditional cultures are very much influenced by the Chinese in ancient times.

Both the Koreans and Chinese would celebrate their New Year by paying tribute to their ancestors, their elders, dressed in traditional costumes (and/or new clothes) and feast in traditional food etc.

From Tour2korea

On Seollal, Koreans wear the hanbok (traditional Korean costume), have ancestor-memorial services, bow to their elders and wish each other a Happy New Year.

On New Year’s morning, Koreans eat tteokguk (rice-cake soup). After eating tteokguk, it is considered truly the New Year.

On Seollal, traditional Korean folk games are played such as Yutnori (a board game played by tossing sticks), Paengichigi (top spinning) and Neolttwigi (standing, high-jump seesaw).

People see fortunetellers about the next year. Also, Koreans visit many places and hold events at the Korean Folk Village, Namsan Folk Museum or visit the old palaces. During that time, many department stores, markets, eating establishments will be closed.

More details on how Koreans celebrate Seollal available on Tours2korea and Korea.net.



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