02 February 2011

Happy Korean New Year!

Oriental countries traditionally followed the lunar calendar. According to the lunar calendar, New Year's Day for 2011 is tomorrow, 3 February. The Korean New Year is in sync with the Chinese New Year with which Korean shares many traditions. According to the Chinese Zodiac, which concists of twelve animals, 2011 is the year of the Golden Rabbit. The rabbit is considered a lucky animal in the Orient.

The Lunar New Year is called Seolnal in Korean. The celebrations requires families to gather together at their ancestral "home town". Because of all the traveling involved, both the day before and after the actual holiday are also public holidays.

During the holiday children will make a deep traditional bow to their parents, grandparents and other elders. In return, the children are often given money as a new year's gift. The festivities also include lots of eating, particularly "rice cakes" -- known as ddeok, and the playing of folk games. Traditional dress -- hanbok -- is often commonly worn during the holiday.

To say "Happy New Year!" in Korean, one could say: "새해 복 많이 받으세요!" -- pronounce: seh-heh bock mahn-hee bah-duh-se-yoh. It basically means: "May you have many blessings in the New Year!"
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