Koreans’ celebration for Lunar New Year

(VOVworld) - Vietnamese people have been enjoying the first month of the Lunar New Year in bliss and joy. But in Korea, the land some 3000 km away from us to the north, how do people there celebrate the biggest festival of the year? Let’s find out with Yu Jinah, a Korean marketer who is currently working in Vietnam.

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Koreans have a tradition to celebrate the Lunar New Year like many other Asian countries. (Photo: Drama Fever)

Q: Hello Jinah, thank you for joining us on air! I can see that you are still in the Lunar New Year holiday spirit and I know that in Korea, you also have similar celebrations. How long is the Lunar New Year in Korea?

A: In Korea, the Lunar New Year is the same as in Vietnam so it lasts 5 or 6 days. It is the biggest holiday in Korea so all of the family get together to make food and go out for lunch and dinner.

Q: Do you have any traditional food to eat during these days?

A: There are so many traditional foods in Korea, especially for the New Year. We have Tteokguk, a kind of soup. Tteok means rice cake. We cut it into small pieces and we put them in boiling water. And then we add some dumplings, an egg and then seaweed, salt and some peppers. That’s all. Its meaning is if we eat this Tteokguk, we will have one more year of life. Because of that, everyone should be eating Tteokguk on the morning of the New Year.

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Tteokguk is a kind of soup that Koreans eat during the Lunar New Year celebration. Tteok means rice cake. (Photo: visitkorea)

Q: Cool. In Vietnam the most significant food for Lunar New Year should be Chung cake (or Square cake). And what about your traditional costumes? You have the Hanbok right? Do you have to wear Hanbok during this time?

A: Actually in the past, we wore costumes called Hanbok. But nowadays, we don’t wear them anymore. Hanbok is now for babies and children to greet their grandmother and grandfather, the neighbors and those who are older than them. They say hello and thank them for living until now.

Q: I see. Hey Jinah, in Vietnam, we have a custom of giving lucky money to children. Do Korean people also do that?

A: Yes, lucky money is only placed inside an envelope that older people give to children. In Korea, we meet the whole family only one or two times in the whole year. The older people will be really happy so they would give us 2 triệu. But that would depend on the family. In my experience, before going to the university, the older people will give us a big amount of money. I got 20 triệu.

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Children in the family will pay respect to the elderly before receiving lucky money from them. (Photo: korea.net)

Q: 20 triệu means 20 million Vietnam Dong. Wow, it is such a big amount of money! I wish I have that much too. But lucky money is for children, what about presents and gifts for your parents and seniors during these days?

A: We are supposed to buy some fruits and clothes for parents. And usually in Korea, we should give them money. We think it’s the best way.

Q: In Vietnam Lunar New Year or the Spring is the time for many, many festivals with outdoor games like tug-or-war. How about in Korea, do you play any special games during the Festival?

A: There are so many traditional games but they usually require us to go outside. But at the moment it’s so cold in Korea, minus 15 degrees. So we don’t want to go out and just gather together for a traditional game named Yut. We divide into two teams. We have a map, like a board game and also 4 wooden sticks which have some signs. Then we throw them and check the signs. If we have three points, we move three steps and the team that finishes the whole map wins. It’s really exciting!

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Yut is a popular game that is widely played during the Festivals. (Photo: MysticKorea)

Q: Wow that sounds interesting! Any other traditions for the Lunar New Year you want to share with us?

A: Before New Years Day, it’s a tradition that all families go to the market and buy some clothes. We call that Seolbim as Soel means Lunar New Year Day and Seolbim means new clothes for Lunar New Year. I miss my mother now as I haven’t seen her for 3 or 4 years, I can’t go back to Korea for the Lunar New Year.

Q: So you go to shop for clothes with your family for the New Year. How about other Koreans?

A: Nowadays, the meaning of Lunar New Year is becoming less important. I feel like this is because maybe 10 years ago, the whole family got together to make a lot of food but now, we just buy it. Or the whole family just goes abroad.

Q: I see. I think it’s quite similar in Vietnam too. Many young families also choose to spend the Lunar New Year abroad. Now the final question: can you teach me to say Happy New Year in Korean?

A: Saehae bog manh-i bad-euseyo! It means Chúc mừng năm mới or Happy New Year!

Q: Thank you Jinah again and we would like to wish you a happy new year too!

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