Seolnal: Korean New Year's

Seolnal: Korean New Year's

New Year's in Korea

In America, New Year's Day (January 1st) almost always looks like this:

Photo credits: Britannica
Photo credits: Film Daily

Nice, right? 


But what's cooler is that Korea has TWO New Year's Days.

Seolnal (설날)

Seolnal, or Korean Lunar New Year, is annually held on the 1st of February. Seolnal is the special event where friends and family get together to pay tribute to their ancestors while hosting major celebrations! 

Photo credits: Shutterstock

Photo credits: Pinterest

An important tradition that happens every Seolnal is sebae (세배), the act of bowing down to one's elders. 

Sebae is different from a regular bow in Korean culture. Instead of simply bending forward at a 90 degree angle, a person gets down on their knees, places one hand over the other and presses his or her forehead to the ground.

Photo credits: 세종경제뉴스

Younger members of a household practice sebae to demonstrate their respects to their older family members. After they do this, every junior member receives sebaedon (세배돈). 

Sebaedon is money that is put inside of an envelope. This money is given only on sebae day, so it holds a lot of special meaning!


Lots of yummy foods are eaten on sebae day, too!

One food in particular, miyukguk (미역국), is particularly eaten because it was commonly believed to increase life longevity. 

Photo credit: Josiah Lau Photography


More blog posts to come on other special Korean traditions! ;)

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