Korean New Year, known as ‘Seollal’, is a big deal in Korea, happening this year on February 10. It usually falls in January or February, marking the first day of the Korean calendar. It’s a super important traditional holiday.
Seollal has deep roots in Korean culture, stemming from Confucianism and celebrated on the first day of the Korean lunar calendar. It lasts for three days: the day before, the actual New Year, and the day after.
Records from ancient times, like the “Book of Sui” and the “Book of Tang,” show that even way back during the Silla kingdom (from 57 B.C. to 935 A.D.), Seollal was a thing.
Even the Joseon dynasty, which was around from 1392 to 1897, had government officials getting together in grand palaces to celebrate.
It’s a unique tradition with Chinese influence, following the lunar cycle. Each year is represented by a different animal, repeating every 12 years. The animals are the mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Legend has it that the order of these animals was decided by the order in which they visited Buddha.
Koreans believe the animal of the year a baby is born in will influence their personality. Some parents even plan when to have kids based on this belief.
Seollal is a time for family gatherings, traditional foods, and honoring ancestors. It’s all about starting the new year fresh and spending time with loved ones. With its rich history and unique customs, Seollal is a cherished holiday in Korea.