One of the biggest Korean holidays is coming up on Jan. 31. Seolnal is the Korean lunar new year. It is one of a handful of Korean holidays that are celebrated according to the lunar calendar, meaning that the actual date fluctuates from year to you on our calendar.
This is a great holiday to celebrate with your family and friends. Traditionally Koreans make a big feast and honor their ancestors. Children honor their older relatives with a formal bow (saebae) for which they receive money (saebae ton). And families often play games like yut nori. You can find the game on Ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/KOREAN-TRADITIONAL-BOARD-GAME-SET-Yut-Nori-Yunnori-New-Year-Portable-Chess-/261030910418
Learn how to say Happy New Year in Korean: 새해 복 많이 받으세요. It literally means, I wish you good blessings in the new year. Here is a video that will help you with pronunciation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qm_k49BQ4k
Jan. 31 marks the beginning of the year of the horse. Do you know your Korean zodiac sign? If not, check out this site. http://koreanzodiac.com/
It has a calculator that you enter your birthday into and it will tell you your sign. At the top of the page, there is also a category marked “Elements.” To get your full Korean zodiac sign you have to know your elementy (metal, water, wood, fire, earth).
If you’ve read Linda Sue Park’s book Archer’s Quest, you know how important it is to know your element.
The traditional food for Seolnal is tteokguk, which is rice cake soup. Here’s a great recipe for it: http://www.koreanbapsang.com/2013/01/tteokguk-korean-rice-cake-soup.html#.UtRc7LTWMyM
I know it’s early but to all of you I say: 새해 복 많이 받으세요! I hope you each have a wonderful Seolnal.