First Full Moon of the Year an Auspicious Occasion

The first full moon of the lunar year falls on Sunday, a special day known in Korean as Daeboreum.

In earlier times, Koreans thought of the moon as something precious and sacred. In its waxing and waning, they saw a pattern similar to the typical agricultural cycle, and one that symbolically mirrored how seeds are sown, grown into plants, then returned to the earth to start over.

The moon is also a symbol of light that chases away the darkness. As such, Koreans of bygone eras saw the first full moon of the year as a very auspicious event, and enjoyed the day with traditional activities and special food as they prayed for an abundant harvest and the continued good health of their families and loved ones.

Typically, the day would begin with the cracking of chestnuts, walnuts, pine nuts, ginko nuts and peanuts, as these were seen as being good for the teeth and a tonic to ward off boils throughout the year. People would match the number of nuts cracked to their age, and they were supposed to bite them in one go using only their molars.

Then they would eat breakfast, which would be served with seasonal vegetables and ogokbap, a bowl of rice mixed with five grains such as millet, sorghum, and red beans.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 23, 2013 08:34 KST