Seollal: the Korean New Year

The great Seollal festival, which refers to the celebration of the Lunar New Year, is one of the most important events of the year for the Koreans. Although its origins are not clearly defined, its name comes from "Seol" meaning the beginning of the year and "lal" meaning the day of the year. Its celebration changes every year, between January 21 and February 20, depending on the astral sky.

This year, Seollal will take place on January 25, an opportunity for the Koreans to gather as a family for several days to honor their ancestors and elders. This festivity has a strong significance in the Korean culture and there are many traditions that are observed. They eat Tteokguk (a soup with thinly sliced rice cakes) symbolizing the passage to the next age. They wear the famous Hanbok (a traditional Korean dress) and hung high a Bokjori (to attain good fortune). They play customary games such as Yutnori (a traditional board game), Neolttwigi (a traditional outdoor game), or kite flying. Finally, the best-known ritual is the Sebae, a deep formal bow of respect that the younger members of the family perform before the oldest members of the family. A well-performed Sebae results in a gift of money from the older family members.