The Korea Herald


[Korea Quiz] Seollal festivities

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Feb. 9, 2024 - 16:00

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Find the answer at the bottom.

Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year, is a time when many families come together to celebrate various traditions and connect with their ancestral heritage.

On this day, which falls on Feb. 10 this year, many families perform a ritual called "jesa" or "charye" to remember and honor their ancestors and share a variety of foods.

One essential dish to have on Seollal is rice cake soup, called tteokguk. It is believed that eating a bowl of tteokguk adds one year to your age.

On the first morning of the New Year, younger family members bow to their elder family members, which is called "sebae," to show their respect and offer New Year’s greetings. When receiving sebae, the older generation typically offers alcohol or food as tokens of goodwill. During this exchange, people are expected to engage in friendly conversations, share compliments and wish each other well.

These days, there is a custom where children who have not reached adulthood perform sebae for the older generation and receive New Year’s money. Because of this, it is not uncommon for children eagerly to anticipate Seollal.

While the New Year's Day on the Gregorian calendar grants a single day off on Jan. 1, Seollal is a more extended celebration, lasting at least three days: Seollal itself, and the day before and after it.

Songpyeon is a traditional rice cake closely associated with Chuseok, not Seollal. Chuseok, an autumn full moon festival referred to as Korean Thanksgiving, falls on Aug. 15 of the lunar calendar.

Answer: (b)