What is Gujeong (구정)? Gujeong is commonly known as Lunar New Year around the globe, but we also call it Seollal or Korean New Year. Gujeong falls on January 22, 2023 this year.
Korean New Year is a day when families gather wearing hanbok to play traditional games and eat food together.
Children typically wear ttetteot (때때옷), which is new colorful hanbok. The colorful sleeves represent chasing away evil spirits, while also signifying longevity and health.
Sebae (세배) bowing is also a crucial part of the celebration where children offer deep bows to elders (grandparents, parents, etc.). It is a custom where children wish "New Year luck" to elders and the children are gifted with crisp pocket money in nice envelopes or lucky bags.
The main dish for Gujeong is tteokguk (떡국), also known as rice cake soup. The long rice cakes pulled for this dish signifies longevity. Eating tteokguk on New Years day is also believed to add another year to your life.
Whether one believes that clothes or food determines longevity and wealth, wearing hanbok and eating tteokguk has become an integral part of the Korean New Year tradition. Like New Years celebration in United States, friends and family get together to have fun and fresh start to the New Year.
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