How do the Koreans celebrate New Years?

Although in Korea they use the western calender for the official counting of years, the New Year is nevertheless celebrated according to the lunar calendar, providing the occasion for the most important family party of the year.

How does a typical Korean family celebrate New Year according to the lunar calendar?

During a Korean New Years, the family becomes the center of attention. Family does not only include the living members of a family but also their ancestors of the last four generations, because, according to Korean faith, they are thought of still not having left the earth right after their death.

After getting up in the morning, the first thing that the family does is to wish each member a Happy New Year. After first having bowed before each other, the parents will subsequently sit down on the ground and will receive their children's greetings for the New Year. While doing this, the children kneel down in front of their parents, performing a deep bow by touching the ground with their forehead (Sebae).

Happy New Year in Korean:

Saehae Bok Mani Badseiyo.

New Year, as celebrated according to the lunar calendar is also one of the days on which the Koreans remember their ancestors and get in contact with them. It is said that wealth and luck shall be attained by honouring ones ancestors.

For breakfeast, families will eat Duckguk (ë–¡êµ­), a type of rice cake.
Afterwards the first problem all city families will face is to win the fight against the traffic jam, in order to be able to reach their relatives living in the suburbs or in close villages.  

Many shops and sights are closed during the New Year.

Worshipping the ancestors happens by holding a ceremony at the ancestor's graves (Cha rei - ceremony). The meal for this ceremony consists of steamed rice, cattle soup, fishcake and traditional cookies. The most important part is the Song-pyun, a kind of rice cake with different fillings.

The Cha rei ceremony is also held during Chu-suk-feast, which is scheduled in accordance to the moon calendar for the 15th of August.   The Koreans visit their relatives during this feast and there are public holidays for three days.

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