How do Koreans celebrate the New Year?

Korean Fashion Trends - How do Koreans celebrate the New Year

How do Koreans celebrate the New Year? With just a few days to say goodbye to the year, many lovers of Korean culture will wonder how Koreans celebrate the New Year. The New Year’s party for them is somewhat different! Yes, although in Korea, Christianity is gaining strength. They celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays as we do in the West. In reality, the Korean New Year is called Seollal and they celebrate it on a different date because it is the lunar new year. We celebrate the welcome of the year in a very different way, but despite that, we love Korean culture, and that is why it is necessary to know a little more about typical Korean traditions. Stay on Korean Fashion Trends to discover the answer to how Koreans celebrate the New Year. Here we go!


What is New Year called in Korean?


Seollal is the name by which the lunar new year gets recognition. And to know how do Koreans celebrate the New Year, it is important to know about this date because it is the day they celebrate the farewell of the year in a big way. Koreans traditionally celebrate Eumnyeok Seollal, commonly called Seollal, or the Lunar New Year. Seollal celebrations last for three days. This 2022, the lunar New Year will be on February 1.


The Korean lunar new year generally corresponds to the second new moon of the winter solstice. Did you know that each year gets named after the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac? That’s how it is. The year 2022 corresponds to the Year of the Water-Tiger. If you want to know who belongs to this very successful animal, you only have to identify if your year of birth is 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, or 2010. In addition, those who came to this world throughout 2022 and until January 21, 2023.


Is Korean New Year the same as Chinese?


Yes, the Korean New Year is the same as the Chinese New Year, but in Korea, they call it Seollal. Seollal has its roots in traditional Chinese Confucianism and they celebrate it on the first day of the Korean lunar calendar. It usually lasts for three days before the Korean New Year Eve, The Korean New Year, and the day after that. For that reason, Koreans consider Seollal to be a unique Korean tradition influenced by China and based on the lunar cycle. Each year represents a different animal. The cycle repeats every 12 years. These 12 animals are as follows: mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The tales say that the order of the animals is the sequence in which they got invited to see Buddha.


Does Korea celebrate Lunar New Year?


How do Koreans celebrate the New Year? They do it by celebrating the lunar new year. While many celebrate a small welcome to the solar new year on December 31, many still adhere to their Buddhist traditions. Therefore, they celebrate the lunar new year or also called Seollal.


Why does Korea celebrate the lunar new year?


According to popular legends, the origin of the New Year was in China. It started with fighting a mythological beast called “Year”. This beast had the shape of an ox with the head of a lion and lived in the sea. On New Year’s Eve, it came out of the water to harm people, animals and destroy houses. As they discovered that this creature was afraid of red color, fire, and noise, people began to carry out traditions to scare it away. In this way, it is a tradition to hang poems written on red canvases in the house. 


The Chinese calendar on which the Lunar New Year is based functioned in its origins as a religious, dynastic, and social guide. The date of celebration also varied between mid-winter and early spring. Korea took influences from that tradition and that is why they too celebrate the lunar new year. In recent decades, mainly due to the influence of the West on young people, Christmas and our New Year get celebrated in Asian countries, and later the lunisolar New Year (or Chinese New Year as we commonly know it). However, eastern countries do not take these days as holidays and they see them as something to promote consumption. In what places is it celebrated other than Korea? In China, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines.


How to celebrate the New Year in Korea?


How do Koreans celebrate the New Year? This holiday in Korea is one of the most important of the year, along with Thanksgiving Day, called Chuseok. Therefore, families meet in the house of the paternal grandparents. They carry out a series of traditions. Get to know the traditions of Seollal with us. It is an important day for many in Korea. If you are a Korean culture lover, you should know what it is about.


  • The main one of the Seollal traditions is the charye, which is a ceremony to honor the deceased. In this ceremony, there is a low and long table. There, they place a large quantity of food, which the women of the family carefully cook the day before. But the arrangement of food on the table is not arbitrary. You must follow guidelines because each plate, cutlery, and glass has its position.


  • Also, certain foods cannot be part of this ceremony, such as foods with names ending in -chi (in their Korean name: tuna, mackerel, and more) because they are considered vulgar; peaches and red beans (since they scare the spirits); sauces made with garlic or chili. For a short time, they turn the lights off. They wait for the deceased to come to enjoy the food. During this time, it is important not to make noises. Why? Because they don’t want to scare the deceased away.


  • Another custom that depends on the family since not all follow it. It is to dress in the traditional Korean costume, hanbok, called seolbim for the New Year.



  • As a show of respect, the young bow down to the older ones. In addition, the younger ones receive some money from the older ones, although it is usually not much. This tradition is in keeping with the Korean mode of philosophy that the young should respect the elderly and that the elderly should protect the young.


  • Traditional games (such as yutnori or gostop) are played for the rest of the day. They are similar to a card game in which they wager money. During games, adults drink alcohol and eat snacks. They consist of cereals and nuts, among others.


How do Koreans celebrate the New Year? Although its celebration is different from in the West, it is also an important celebration to welcome the new year. And in general, at this time, the atmosphere in Korea is happy and festive. Now that you know more about how Koreans ring in the new year, you can travel to Korea to experience these events in person. We hope you enjoy the last days of the year. See you on an upcoming Korean Fashion Trends blog!

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