Korean New Year
Korean New Year, commonly known as Seollal , is the first day of the lunar calendar. It is the most important of the traditional Korean holidays. It consists of a period of celebrations, starting on New Year's Day. Koreans
Korean people
The Korean people are an ethnic group originating in the Korean peninsula and Manchuria. Koreans are one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogeneous groups in the world.-Names:...

 also celebrate solar New Year's Day
New Year's Day
New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome...

 on January 1 each year, following the Gregorian Calendar. The Korean New Year holiday lasts three days, and is considered a more important holiday than the solar New Year's Day.

The term "Seollal" generally refers to Eumnyeok Seollal (음력 설날, lunar new year), also known as Gujeong . Less commonly, "Seollal" also refers to Yangnyeok Seollal (양력 설날, solar new year), also known as Sinjeong .

Korean New Year generally falls on the day of the second new moon
New moon
In astronomical terminology, the new moon is the lunar phase that occurs when the Moon, in its monthly orbital motion around Earth, lies between Earth and the Sun, and is therefore in conjunction with the Sun as seen from Earth...

 after winter solstice
Winter solstice
Winter solstice may refer to:* Winter solstice, astronomical event* Winter Solstice , former band* Winter Solstice: North , seasonal songs* Winter Solstice , 2005 American film...

, unless there is a very rare intercalary
Intercalation is the insertion of a leap day, week or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.- Solar calendars :...

 eleventh or twelfth month in the lead-up to the New Year. In such a case, the New Year falls on the day of the third new moon after the solstice (next occurrence will be 2033).


Korean New Year is typically a family-oriented holiday. The three-day holiday is used by many to return to their home towns to visit their parents and other relatives where they perform the ancestral ritual known as charye (차례). Many Koreans dress up in colorful hanbok
Hanbok or Chosŏn-ot is the traditional Korean dress. It is often characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term literally means "Korean clothing", hanbok today often refers specifically to hanbok of Joseon Dynasty and is worn as semi-formal or formal wear...

. Tteokguk (떡국) (soup with rice cakes) is commonly served.

Many Koreans greet the New Year (both Western and lunar) by visiting East coast locations such as Gangneung
Gangneung is a city in Gangwon-do, on the east coast of South Korea. It has a population of 229,869 . Gangneung is the economic centre of the Yeongdong region of eastern Gangwon Province. Gangneung has many tourist attractions, like Jeongdongjin, one of the most famous towns in Korea...

 and Donghae in Gangwon
Gangwon-do (South Korea)
Gangwon-do is a province of South Korea, with its capital at Chuncheon. Before the division of Korea in 1945, Gangwon and its North Korean neighbour Kangwŏn formed a single province.-History:...

 province, where they are most likely to see the first rays of the New Year's sun.


Sebae is a traditionally observed activity on Seollal, and is filial-piety-oriented. Children wish their elders (grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents) a happy new year by performing one deep traditional bow (rites with more than one bow involved are usually for the deceased) and the words saehae bok mani badeuseyo (Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

: 새해 복 많이 받으세요) which translates to please receive many blessings in the new year. Parents typically reward this gesture by giving their children new year's money (usually in the form of crisp paper money) and offering words of wisdom, or deokdam. Historically, parents gave out rice cakes (ddeok) and fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 to their children instead. Before the bowing ceremony is held, children sometimes wear hanboks or clothes worn in Korea long ago. Hanboks are worn as a respectful way to appreciate the ancestors and elders.

Folk games

Many traditional games are associated with the Korean New Year. The traditional family board game yunnori
Yut Nori is a traditional board game played in Korea, especially during Korean New Year. The game is also called cheok-sa or sa-hee...

(윷놀이) is still a popular pastime. Traditionally men and boys would fly rectangle kite
A kite is a tethered aircraft. The necessary lift that makes the kite wing fly is generated when air flows over and under the kite's wing, producing low pressure above the wing and high pressure below it. This deflection also generates horizontal drag along the direction of the wind...

s called yeonnalligi
Yeonnalligi is a popular Korean game. This game uses rectangle kites and it typically played on the holiday Seollal....

, and play jegi chagi (제기차기), a game in which a light object is wrapped in paper or cloth, and then kicked in a footbag
A footbag is both a small, round bag, and the term for the various sports played with one – characterized by controlling the bag by using one's feet. Although often referred to generically as a Hacky Sack, that is the trademarked name of one specific brand.Footbag-like activities have existed...

 like manner. Korean women and girls would have traditionally played neolttwigi
Neolttwigi or nol-ttwigi is a traditional outdoor game of Korean women and girls that is typically enjoyed on traditional holidays such as Korean New Year, Chuseok, and Dano....

(널뛰기), a game of jumping on a seesaw (시소), while children spun paengi (팽이).

External links

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