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How to Celebrate Korean New Years Traditions




Korean New Year(Seollal)is the first day of the Korean lunar calendar. It is the most important of the traditional Korean holidays. Lunar calendar starts on January 22 unlike Western calendars. Korean`s wear their traditional costume(Hanbok), have ancestor-memorial services, and bow to their elders and wish each other Happy New Years. Followed by eating traditional Korean dishes such as ddeokguk and playing games.

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1£®On the eve of News Years Day villagers will stay awake all night to hold narye, an exorcising ceremony to expel any evil spirits. Ten dancers wearing Ch'oyong masks will dance to musical accompaniment. People will burn bamboos to ward away evil spirits. They believe that with the sound of the exploding bamboo's knots, the demons would get scared and run away.

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2£®On New Years Day everyone cleanses their bodies then dress in their best hanbok (traditional Korean clothes). Together, the extended family performs ch'arye (a ceremony to commemorate their ancestors). Followed by bowing to the elders starting with the grandparents, then parents, uncles and aunts. And the elders would give the younger generation money gifts.
Serve the traditional Korean food ddeokguk, a rice dumpling soup and traditional drinks such as shikhye(rice punch)and sujunggwa(a spicy concoction of persimmon and cinnamon).

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3£®After eating ddeokguk, it is considered truly the New Year. On Seollal, traditional Korean folk games are played such as Yutnori (a board game played by tossing sticks), Paengichigi (top spinning) and Neolttwigi (standing, high-jump seesaw). Young boys engage in kite battles by trying to cut each other’s strings by coating their own with powdered glass.

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*Possible hazzards are young boys getting cut by kite batteling with glass powder. You could replace kite battling by just flying kites. Bamboo burning is also a hazzard, you can replace this proceedure with insence burning instead.