Asian New Year’s Celebrations: China and Korea
The 2016 New Year is on February 8th in China and Korea.
The ‘New Year’ falls on a different date every year due to the lunar-solar calendar. It begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice and is one of the most important holidays
Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture. The celebration lasts fifteen days.
Dragons are a crucial symbol of the Chinese New Year because they symbolize prosperity, good luck, and good fortune.
The most important event of the Chinese New Year is the Reunion Dinner. Families gather to eat specialized meat dishes.
After the big dinner at around midnight, it is customary to eat dumplings in Northern China because they symbolize wealth. However, in Southern China is it tradition to bake new year cake, and to gift it to friends and relatives.
And red envelopes full of money are given to children and an array of fireworks and firecrackers display a show of lights in the night sky.
During the three-day holiday of Seolnal (Korean New Year), people all over Korea travel to their hometowns to spend time with their family.
In South Korea, children wish their elders a happy new year by dressing up in hanbok, traditional Korean clothing, and bowing deeply to the floor while reciting “saehae bok mani badeuseyo,” translating to "Please receive a lot of luck in the New Year.” Afterwards, elders will reward this gesture by giving the children money in luck bags.
Tteokguk, which is a traditional Korean soup with rice cakes, is eaten on the New Year to recognize the aging of one year. A serving of Jeon which is a special Korean type of pancake is also eaten.
Seasonal customs include making bokjori or rice strainers, or flying a kite(Yun-nalligi), and a board game played by tossing four sticks (yut-nori).
Bokjori are believed to bring prosperity while driving away evil spirits if hung at an entrance of the house when the New Year starts.
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