Friday, January 20, 2012

Lunar New Year

This Monday and Tuesday in Korea it's Lunar New Year. America calls this holiday Chinese New Year, but I've discovered that most Asian countries celebrate it and they'd rather not give all the credit to China. So Lunar New Year it is. This year is the year of the dragon.

I've been asking adults what they do to celebrate and all they say is "I go to my hometown." So today I had my students write about it so I could learn a little more :) I love when I can use my job to my advantage. However, all I got out of the kiddos is that they see their family, eat soup, get money, and play computer games. 

So I did a little research. According to wikipedia the festivities last 3 days and there's some ancestral ritual. Most families go super traditional and wear their hanbok, but some just dress up in regular clothes. 
This is Kyla and I in hanbok. We dressed up in Korean class one night.
While everybody is in their fancy clothes, the kids bow to their grandparents, and maybe other relatives too. This is how they get the money. I don't know how this works...if they get paid per bow, or based on how well they bow, or how generous Grandpa is feeling that day. I asked them to elaborate but we didn't get very far in class.
They also eat this soup called tteokguk. It has rice cakes in it. This (I think) is the school lunch version (bottom right). The real deal is probably much better. There are hardly any rice cakes in the school lunch soup. I'm pretty sure that this soup is also birthday soup, which makes sense because this holiday is when everybody turns one year older. So I'll be 25 in a few days.
There you go. Now you know everything I know. I'll be in Thailand during the holiday, and my friends and I are hoping there's a celebration for us to attend.

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