Saturday, 05 January 2008

The New Year and the New Year

I've decided to take it easy with the blogging for a few weeks, so this is my very first post of the new year, or the last post of the old year, depending on how you view it.

Not only have we just entered the New Year of 2008, and wonder how long it will be before I stop writing 2007, but we will also start the Lunar New Year tomorrow. As far as I can figure out the Korean New Year and Chinese New Year is at the same time.

Korean New Year, Seollal (설날), is supposedly the most important traditional Korean holiday. I expect there to be a few festivals or other kinds of celebrations around and I think it might be a good idea to go see if anything is happening in Seolbong Park tomorrow. I might have to go on Monday and Tuesday as well since the holiday lasts for three days.

The Korean New Year will always be close to the Gregorian New Year because it's the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice, unless there is an inserted eleventh or twelfth month in the lead-up to the New Year. In such a case, the New Year falls on the day of the third new moon after the solstice. The next time this occurs is in 2033. I'm not sure how this works, but I suspect it it something similar to the Gregorian Leap Year.

Tteok guk is commonly served during this holiday. The dish is comprised of a soup to which are added thinly sliced rice cakes. Eating this dish is believed to grant the consumer luck for the year as well as a few extra years of live. A few ingredients are added for seasoning.

I include a photo I found at I must admit that, keeping in mind this is a it specially prepared photo, looks pretty much like any other dish...

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