Friday, January 23, 2009

설날 : Lunar New Year

설날 (Seollal) is Korean for Lunar New Year. If you don't know what Lunar New Year is, you have probably heard of Chinese New Year, which is essentially the same thing. The traditional Asian calendar runs on a lunar cycle rather than a solar cycle like the modern calendar, so new year's day changes every year. This year it falls on January 26th, and next year it will fall on February 14th.

Koreans generally have a family celebration, probably at a grandparent's home. Traditions for Lunar New Year include wearing hanbok (see picture), bowing to elders and giving money to children. The game I learned at Korean class last Saturday, GoStop (hwat'u) is often played with family. Seoul is pretty dead I hear for Seollal, since so many people are with family, often outside of the city in their hometowns.

And what will I be doing for Seollal you ask?? I'm leaving the country again. Yea, I know I just got back from Vietnam, but I can't stand sitting around my apartment for 4 days with no work. So, I'm heading to the city that every Chinatown in the world models their Chinese New Year's celebrations off of. Where's that? Hong Kong! I'm heading out tomorrow morning early, and I'll be at my hotel (or shady guesthouse, whatever it is...) by 3:00 pm tomorrow. I'm going to see the annual parade, fireworks, some temples, and do some shopping... hopefully for a camera... since I've been talking about a camera for 2 months now. Leaning towards a DSLR now too.. dangerous...

I hope to come home with some amazing photos and stories. I won't be updating 'til I'm home I suspect. See you all soon! Enjoy your Lunar New Year and head to your local Chinatown and watch a parade and think of me.


  1. Happy New Year!!! Have fun in Hong Kong!

  2. Afrikaans: Gelukkige nuwe jaar / Voorspoedige Nuwe jaar

    Arabic: (helol alseneh aljedīdah) حلول السنة الجديدة

    Bulgarian: Щастлива Нова Година (Štastliva Nova Godina)

    Catalan: Feliç Any Nou

    Chinese: 新年快樂 [新年快乐] - Gregorian New Year; 恭喜發財 [恭喜发财] – Lunar New Year
    Mandarin: xīn nián kuài lè / gōng xǐ fā cái
    Cantonese: sàn nìhn faai lohk / gung héi fáat chōi
    Hakka: sin ngien kwai lok / giung hi fat coi
    Shangainese: sin ni kua loq / kong shi fuh ze

    Danish: Godt nytår

    Esperanto: Feliĉan novan jaron

    French: Bonne Année

    German: Ein gutes neues Jahr (A good new year), Ein gutes Neues (A good new)
    Ein gesundes neues Jahr (A healthy new year),
    Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr (A good slide into the new year), Guten Rutsch (good slide).

    Greek: Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Ετος (Eutukhismeno to Neo Etos) / Καλὴ χρονιά (Kalí hroniá)

    Hindi: नये साल की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें (Naye sāl kī hārdik śubhkāmnayeṅ)

    Irish: Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit/daoibh (Prosperous New Year)
    Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit/daoibh (Happy New Year to you)
    Go mbeire muid beo ar an am seo aris! (May we be alive this time next year!)

    Italian: Felice Anno Nuovo
    Japanese: 新年おめでとうございます (shinnen omedetō gozaimasu)
    明けましておめでとうございます (akemashite omedetō gozaimasu)
    旧年中大変お世話になりました (kyūnenjū taihen osewa ni narimashita)
    本年もよろしくお願いいたします (honnen mo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu)

    Malay: Selamat Tahun Baru

    Polish: Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku

    Portuguese: Feliz Ano Novo / Próspero Ano Novo

    Russian: С наступающим Новым Годом (S nastupayuščim Novym Godom)

    Spanish: Feliz Año Nuevo / Próspero Año Nuevo

    Welsh: Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

  3. I am so freakin' envious!! I hope you have a blast.

    It's the year of the Ox

    It's our year baby!

  4. Yea, how amazing is that? It's the year of the ox, I'm an ox, and I was in china to celebrate the year of the ox... oh! and I saw an ox on new years day. That means I'm gona have a good year.. right??