Lunar New Year in Korea: Seolnal (설날)
- The celebration of the Lunar New Year is called Seolnal (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.
Our Road Trip!
Matt and I got the opportunity to help out DGFEZ (Daegu Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone) with a few promotional videos about the area. Our friend Yujeong helped translate between the Korean director and camera guy and was our tour guide for the occasion!
Our first stop was Andong. We headed to the traditional folk village of Hahoe, but took the scenic view – the cliff across the river. Hahoe Village (translating to “Village Enveloped by Water”) gets its name from Nakdong River, which flows around the town’s perimeter.
Next, we passed the Andong dam to a village that had been relocated uphill. It was perfectly restored and even allowed us to go inside and explore the homes. Matt and I got to have an awesome “sword” fight.
We had jjimdaek in Andong’s jjimdak (찜닭) alley. Andong jjimdak is a variety of jjim (a Korean steamed or boiled dish), made with chicken, various vegetables marinated in a ganjang based sauce. It is one of my FAVORITE dishes in Korea. It is such a comfort food in a chilly winter’s day. If you ever get a chance, definitely try it out ^_^
As you will see in the video, we got into a bit of a tight spot when we got stuck on a beach for 5 hours about an hour away from Pohang. We called a tow truck, the police and finally an Excavator. Sand is one dangerous element that you can’t mess with!
By Sunday evening, we traveled quickly to Pohang for some shots and then drove straight to Gyeongju for dinner – bulgogi ssambap (beef wrapped in lettuce and rice). But by that point I was so tired and drained from the day I couldn’t even eat much. The trip ended with an interesting sleep over at the home of the director’s friend – an artist who let us borrow his home and studio to record. It was right outside Daegu, in the traditional Korean style. What made it super special was finding the small art he had drawn everywhere around his home. It was quiet magical and quaint. And his cute dog was just adorable!