10 February 2013

Happy Lunar New Year

Today is Lunar New Year, celebrated by most of the Orient. The Lunar New Year falls on a different date every year depending on the lunar cycle, on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar.

In Korea Seolnal (Lunar New Year's Day) is one of the two big holidays of the year with both the day before and after also being public holidays because of the travelling involved. Families go to the home of the oldest male member of the family. Traditionally all the male members of the family will pay homage to their ancestors. Respect is also shown to the eldest members of the family starting with the grandparents, with deep bows. During these formalities it is customary for Koreans to dress formally in traditional clothes known as Hanbok.

The traditional meal for Seolnal is ddeokkuk, rice-dumpling soup, although Korean holidays are known for lots of eating of different types of traditional food. Families often also play games together. Traditionally kite-flying was a particular seolnal activity and some Koreans still do so.

One can give Korean New Year's greetings by saying: "새해 복 많이 받으세요!", pronounced as: seh-heh bock mahn-hee bah-duh-se-yoh. It means: "May you have many blessings in the New Year!"

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