Seollal (Lunar New Year; first day of the lunar calendar) is one of the most celebrated national holidays in Korea. People in Korea also celebrate Sinjeong which is the Gregorian new year.
Seollal is a very important festival for the people of Korea and they celebrate it with immense love and delight. The seollal marks the start of the Lunar New Year and people visit their families and get along with their closed ones. It is a National Holiday in Japan when Seollal falls.
It is a time for paying respect to ancestors, and also an opportunity to catch up with family members. During Seollal, Koreans usually wear hanbok (traditional clothes), perform ancestral rites, play folk games, eat traditional foods, listen to stories and talk well into the night.
Food being the most important element in every festival, the preparation of the festivities is started a week before. Shopping is done a lot as there is a large amount of greetings given as wishes as well as gifts during the Seollal festival.
The Seollal starts with the gathering of the family members in seolbim to perform the ancestral rites. People pay tribute to their ancestors and bow to their elders. This is the long standing tradition in Korea.
Family members prepare various dishes to be placed on a low table, including fish, meat, rice, fruit and other dishes and alcohol that the deceased ancestors liked. Once the table has been set, family members will light 향(hyang)=”incense”, then 절하다(jeolhada)=”bow” to the ancestors to show respect. They will also stick chopsticks straight up into the 밥그릇(bapgeureut)=”bowl of rice” and ask the spirits of the ancestors to visit and enjoy the food prepared by the living members of the household.
Then everyone plays different games. People mainly play Yutnori, it is a traditional game which has been played since a long time. Yutnori is a board game that involves throwing four wooden sticks. This game is so easy to learn that all family members, regardless of age, can enjoy playing in teams and making fun bets.
This is how the Koreans celebrate the Seollal with elegance, great food, nice wine and family get togethers. To experience the taste of Seollal served delicacies in Mumbai visit Origami restaurants.