Celebrating Lunar New Year

Erin Kim, Staff Writer

Most people usually say that the holidays are over by Jan. 1. My family and I have something to look forward to even after: the Lunar New Year, or Seollal. The Christmas tree and house lights are gone by this time and the spirit is replaced by grogginess once school and work begin. The first day of the Korean Lunar Calendar falls on Jan. 22, with the celebration lasting around three days.

Traditionally, the entire family will gather at the oldest male family member’s home and honor their ancestors. This reverence of the ancestors is known as “charye,” involving the preparation of food by female relatives and the offering up to the ancestors by the male relatives.  We all try our best to honor the tradition as much as possible by eating “ddeokguk”, or rice cake soup. The final step requires the entire family to eat the food and gaining the ancestors blessing for the rest of the year, called “eumbok”. 

My extended family members live all around the world, so we have never celebrated Seollal all together. Every year, I always make phone calls to my relatives to wish them luck, happiness, and health in the new year. When I was younger, I especially looked forward to eating this delicious food because I thought that I would grow more than one year worth if I ate more than one bowl. I never did, but celebrating the Korean New Year lives in my memory nevertheless.