From olden times, the Korean people joyfully celebrated the first day of the first month by the lunar calendar.
They kept their houses clean inside and outside, decorating walls with paintings, and prepared new clothes and special dishes on the eve of the lunar New Year’s Day.
When the day dawned, people were busy with different things.
First, they paid homage to their deceased ancestors and then made deep bows to seniors of their families in the order of age.
Young people went to make a deep bow to seniors in the village, and elder relatives and teachers.
Such manners originated from the fact that the Koreans have respected their seniors and valued etiquette since ancient times.
That day, all the family members gathered in the house of the eldest to enjoy holiday dishes. They also served neighbours on a visit to their house with the dishes, deepening mutual harmony.
Typical dishes include ttokguk (rice-cake soup), chalttok (glutinous rice cake), solgittok (steamed rice cake in layers), pancakes, confectionery, sujonggwa (fruit punch) and others. In particular, ttokguk is a must on the table on this day.
Folk games make the atmosphere of the day more pleasant.
Typical games include yut (four-stick) game, Korean chess, kite-flying, sleighing, toy pinwheel turning and shuttlecock kicking.
Such customs reflect the ennobling manners and customs of the Korean people who aspire to purity, respect the elders, value etiquette and live optimistically.
This year, lunar New Year’s Day falls on January 22.