Sebae (새배): New Year's Bow

Sebae (새배): New Year's Bow

This photograph shows the younger members of a family doing sebae!


Photo credit: Encyclopedia of Korean Culture 




Sebae (새배)

Sebae is the Korean tradition where a person bows to his or her superiors on the first day of the new year. In doing this, family members are able to express their gratitude towards those that are older (i.e. grandmother, grandfather) in light of the new year.

Sebae takes place in the morning, commonly before sebae food is served. All men, women, girls and boys change into seolbim (설빔) to prepare for sebae


Photo credit: 이데일리


 Sebae is carried out in an age-ranked sequence. Junior members bow down to the senior members of the family, all until the youngest children remain. 




A series of steps are involved in sebae


 Photo credit: 스피드웨건! 


First, the bow is performed. The picture above depicts how it is carried out. Family members bow down until their knees touch the floor.


Photo credit: 머니S


Next, the family members lean forward so that their foreheads face the ground. Girls and boys do it differently. Boys completely bend forward, while girls don't. 



Photo credit: 1boon - Kakao


Once all family members finish bowing, they receive sebaedon (새배돈). Sebaedon is money given to a person after they perform sebae. The junior receives sebaedon, with both hands, from the senior in the form of a colorful envelope.




I hope this article helped in providing clarification on what happens during sebae

Happy New Year to all~ 

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