Welcome, Black Water Dragon!

Happy Lunar New Year, everyone!  2012 is year of the Black Water Dragon.  Not supposed to be a great year for us dogs, but oh well.  I am determined to keep updating this blog, and what better time then at the start of a new (lunar) year!  Yesterday was the first day of the new year for many around the world.  Lunar New Year (some call it Chinese New Year) is celebrated by people in Korea, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Phillipines, and many other places around the world.  Korean New Year is called Seolnal (설날) and usually is a 3 day or so affair that consists of people returning to their home towns to visit their parents and relatives.  Often a type of memorial for their ancestors (I have a lot on this for another post).  Back in the day, families always wore a traditional hanbok for the holiday but now a lot of people just dress up a little.  Besides this, you’re supposed completely clean your house (can’t have any of that bad luck hanging over from last year) and make tons of food for the occassion.

On New Years, many Koreans eat a traditional soup called tteok guk or deok guk (떡국).  It’s kind of like thin rice cakes in a soup.  My family ate dinner together on Lunar New Year’s Eve and had mandu guk (만두국) which is like tteok guk with some added dumplings in.  Looks good?

Besides eating the traditional soup, another things many families do is sebae.  Basically the children are wishing their parents, grandparents, elder relatives, a happy new year by saying ‘새해 복 많이 받으세요’ (hope you receive many new years blessings) bowing all the way to the ground.  Here’s a blurry me on my way down to bow to my grandmother.

When bowing, you say this new year’s blessing thing and then afterwards your parents or whoever, reward you with some money!  I think back in the day, the elders gave them fruit or candy instead, but these days, kids are doing it for the cash.  My grandmother always says something to us too, like “Study hard in school this year” or in my case “Hope you find a good husband this year” (yeah, thanks a lot).  My family does this about half the time on lunar new years and half the time on January 1st, whenever we apparently feel like doing it.  This year we actually did sebae on Jan 1st but ate the soup twice.  Here’s a YouTube video showing how to bow (I did the small girl bow).

Koreans usually play a traditional game called yutnori (윷놀이) which is a board game that involves some sticks.  We have played that before, but my Korean grandmother wanted to play Sequence instead.  By the way, that’s a good game to play with those who have limited or basically no English skills.  Just matching cards pretty much.

So that’s pretty much it for this holiday.  One of the best part of being a halfie is getting to celebrate different holidays.  I of course celebrate New Years Eve/Day on December 31st-January 1st, but it’s great to know that if I’m a month or so in and my new years resolutions aren’t going as well as planned, that I can start over on seollal, which is precisely what I did this year (really every year).

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