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Seol-nal (Lunar New Year)

Jun-Won Sim from Korea

Playing yut
Photo: Han-Oh Chung
Creative Commons
On Seol-nal, we play the Yut game (throwing four sticks).


Seol-nal is the second biggest holiday in Korea. It is always looked forward to. In the early morning, my family members get up early and everyone cleans their bodies, then dress in their best hanbok (traditional Korean clothes). Then my mother and I go to church and pray to God for our ancestors and my father.

After that we bo back to the house, where my sister, her husband and I perform saebae (bowing and paying respect to one's elders) to my mother. If we do a good job we are rewarded with envelopes of money and well-wishes. In addition we have tul-kuk (traditional Korean food made of rice) for breakfast.

Some relatives and visitors drop in at my home in order to do 'saebae' to my mother. They are usually younger than her, and she entertains them with 'tuk-kuk' and other New Year's sacrificial foods for lunch.

I also visit my friends' and relatives' homes and do 'saebae' to my friends' parents. We play the Yut game (throwing four sticks) in front of the TV eating apples and pears.

New Year's Day is the first day that everything starts fresh. Every Korean tries to be careful to speak and behave well because they think if they say bad words and hurt themselves on this day, they will do that all the year.

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