Traveling Soon? Be aware of Seolnal.

With one of the biggest Korean holidays only two and a half weeks away, I thought I’d give a heads up to anyone planning to be in Korea in early February.

Seolnal (설날) is the lunar new year holiday in Korea, and this year it falls on Feb. 3. (Yes, seolnal is like Chinese new year only the official holiday is lunar new year and it’s celebrated in unique ways by many Asian  countries.) Like Chuseok in the fall, it’s a holiday in which most Koreans return to their ancestral homes to share the holiday with extended family. And it’s a three-day holiday in Korea, so many businesses and offices will be closed Wednesday, Feb. 2, through Friday, Feb. 4.

Over the course of the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing some traditional foods and activities that are part of a Seolnal celebration. While some people in Korea celebrate the Jan. 1 new year, the lunar new year continues to be a much bigger new year celebration.

Since our son joined us, we’ve celebrated Jan. 1 with a traditional southern U.S. celebration (complete with black eyed peas and goals for the year) because that’s where our U.S. roots are. And a month or so later, we’ve celebrated Seolnal with traditional rice cake soup and playing yut as a way of incorporating and honoring the Korean roots that are now part of our family.

I hope you enjoy the Seolnal posts and find something (or many things) your family can use to celebrate this special Korean holiday.


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