Happy Lunar New Year!

Sae hae bok mani badeuseyo!

(which translates to Receive many New Year blessings, or more loosely, “Have a blessed New Year.” ) Here in Korea, we got to celebrate by being on vacation for 4 days ^^ It was a bit hectic, as this is the biggest times for people to travel through out the country. Although the country adopted the Gregorian solar calendar in 1895, the lunar calendar is still commonly used to mark special days of the year and in age reckoning.

Last year, a reported 30.88 million people hit the road during the Lunar New Year, which fell on February 3. Today I was one of the estimated 6.47 million people in transit. [1

6 Fast Facts

  • The celebration of the Lunar New Year is called Seollal (설날) here in Korea
  • Gifts are exchanged among family members and friends, so gift shopping before the holiday is essential. 
  • The main tradition of Seollal is called Charye (차례) which is performed early in the morning. An offering of food is sacrificed for ancestors, and family members pay their respects by bowing twice. Afterward, the food is usually eaten to close the ritual. 
  • Another morning ritual is Sebae (세배), in which younger people pay their respects to their elder relatives by performing one deep bow and saying “Sae hae bok mani badusaeyo”. They are then rewarded with money!
  • You eat tteokguk, a soup with slices of rice cake, to signify advancing one year in age. 
  • You play a game called Yutnori (윷놀이) which is what the first picture above is displaying. 

My Year of the Dragon

Who knows what the year will bring. Reading up on what this means..this whole “year of the dragon” thing, I came to the conclusion it will either be amazing or disastrous according to those who believe in it. 

So I take it for what this imagery just means in my life. I think this year can be big… if I work at it. Or it can be a flop, if I forget what my goals are and just settle for a sedimentary life of lukewarm living. It’s hard right? To choose to live a daring life is scary, but eventually fruitful in ways unimaginable. So for this year I have a few goals up my sleeve. Like someone I know said, “In case you haven’t kept with your resolutions, we Asians have the 2nd new year for a 2nd chance at making it happen. Happy 2nd new year all~” So though I’ve had a rough start to this year, I want to move forward to something better. 

I found this quote about goals and I’m still mulling it over in my head. Look it over, I’m curious to see what you think.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.
Eleanor Roosevelt