The 1st of February marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year in 2022 and is celebrated across the countries of East and South-East Asia following the Chinese calendar. It is called 설날 (Seollal) in Korean, and is one of the most important and biggest festivals in Korea!
During Seollal, Koreans return to their hometowns to pay respect to their ancestors and meet their families. They usually perform ancestral rites, exchange gifts, play folk games, and eat traditional food.
To celebrate this Lunar New Year, Namaste Hallyu brings to you 10 Lunar New Year words you must know! Keep reading to learn more~
Sae-hae bok manh-i bad-eu-se-yo (새해 복 많이 받으세요)
This is a standard greeting for the New Year and literally translates to “Please receive a lot of luck/blessings in the new year.” It is the formal way to wish others a happy new year!
This means the “Korean New Year.” Korea observes two New Years, one on 1st January according to the Gregorian calendar and Seollal in late January or early February, according to the Lunar calendar.
In Korean culture, it is believed that the earth has twelve Gods who take on the form of twelve animals. Together, these are known as the Sib-i-ji-sin (십이지신). Sib-i (십이) means ‘twelve’ and Ji-sin (지신) means ‘Gods of the Earth’.
Each year is represented by one of the twelve guardian animals – mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
This means the ‘Year of the Black Tiger.’ Im (임) means black, in (인) means tiger, and nyeon (년) means year.
2022 marks the year of the black Tiger! The tiger, which is the third animal deity of the Sibijisin, is regarded as a sacred beast that wards off evil spirits. The tiger is associated with strength, independence, challenge, recovery, growth and wisdom.
Jae-sa, or ‘memorial to ancestors,’ is the ancestral rites performed together by families on Seollal. The ritual is conducted to show respect and gratitude to one’s ancestors. After the rite, families gather to eat traditional ritual food.
Seol-bim means new clothes worn on the Lunar New Year. The new clothes embody the idea of erasing the old year and greeting the new year with a fresh start.
Tteok-guk is the main dish of the Seollal celebration. It is a traditional soup made with sliced rice cakes, beef, egg, vegetables, and other ingredients. In Korea, the clear broth and white rice cakes of tteokguk are believed to symbolize starting out the year with a clean mind and body.
Sae-bae is the deep traditional bow performed by younger generations of the family towards their elders, as a mark of respect. The elders then offer them blessings and wish for a prosperous year.
Sae-baet-don is the money gifted to children on Seollal after performing thes se-bae or traditional bow towards their elders.
Yut-nor-i is a traditional board game and fun, a favourite for families to play on Seollal. Yut-nor-i is played by throwing four sticks and moving your game markers around the board depending on the number of sticks that face upwards. Each team has four markers and the first team to get all four of their markers around the board wins.
Will you be celebrating Seollal? What are your goals for the Year of the Tiger? Let us know in the comments~
Written by Kuhu