Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy New Year!

   Last Thursday was the Korean new year's day. New year's day in many Asian countries is based on the lunar calender, which was used several hundreds years ago. People don't use this calender any more, but we still use it to count some holidays. There are various holidays in Korea, but new year's celebration is the most prominent one. All of the family members gather in the oldest son's house and spend one or two days together. In the morning, people have a special ceremony to show appreciation towards their ancestors. After the ceremony, they have lunch together. For the lunch, they have this special food, called Ddok-guk (떡국). This food is significant because our ancestors believed that people gets a year older after they eat this food. After the supper, a family have a special time. People dress up with the Korean traditional clothes, Han-bok (한복), and younger people in a family bow to the older ones, wishing their long, healthy lives. For the bows, the older ones "pay" some money for the younger people. After the bows, people spend time having some conversations, eat dinner, and play some traditional games.

  For me, the new year's day was always the most exiting day of a year. When I was little, I was exited about the fact that I am getting older by eating Ddok-guk, and as I know the value money, I was exited about the money for bows. However, since I missed this holiday for three years, staying in the states, I realized that the thing I miss the most about this holiday is the gathering of my family. Meeting grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in one place at the same time is impossible other than this big holiday. In my opinion, that is the reason why the New Year's Day is so significant in Korea.

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