Seollal (Lunar New Year; first day of the lunar calendar) is one of the most celebrated national holidays in Korea. While many observe Sinjeong (Solar New Year; January 1 of the Gregorian/Western calendar), Koreans also celebrate Seollal, which usually lasts for three days (the day of, the day before, and the day after). This year, Seollal falls on February 5 of the Gregorian calendar.
More than just a holiday to mark the beginning of a new year, Seollal is truly a special occasion for Korean people. Not only is it a time for paying respect to ancestors, but it is also an opportunity to catch up with family members. During Seollal, Koreans usually perform ancestral rites, play folk games, eat traditional foods, listen to stories and talk well into the night. Read on to discover how Koreans celebrate Seollal.
Before Seollal: Busy with preparations!
People shopping at a market and traveling to their hometowns
In Korea, the rush to prepare for Seollal begins days beforehand. Food is prepared in advance and people begin to purchase and package gifts for their parents and relatives. Another crucial part of preparing for Seollal for many people is making travel arrangements to visit their hometowns. There is a mad rush to book buses, trains, or plane tickets before they all sell out. Traveling during the holiday can take over two to four times the normal travel time due to heavy traffic.
To continue reading about Seollal, visit the Visit Korea website!
(The above content is an excerpt from the Visit Korea website run by the Korea Tourism Organization.)