Forgotten Lunar New Year Traditions


    January 23, 2023 08:20

    Of course Koreans make rice cakes and ceremonial dishes for ancestral rites for Lunar New Year's Day, one of the two biggest holidays in Korea. But there are many more traditions that are gradually being forgotten in modern times.
    In addition to rituals paying respect to deceased ancestors and bowing to each other, people used to hang bokjori or straw rice strainers, play games and perform other superstitions.
    Hanging bokjori on walls or at the entrance of their house was thought to bring good luck while driving away evil spirits. Some people also stole soil from a wealthy home and sprinkled it in their garden to make them rich.
    Many people still wear traditional hanbok to bow in front of ritual tables or ancestral graves and pray to them for good fourtune in the new year. After bowing to their elders, children used to be given nothing more than cookies and snacks, but that has long changed to envelopes full of money. Then they eat tteokguk or rice cake soup together. There is a saying that without eating a bowl of tteokguk, one cannot get a year older.
    Rice cakes are often cut into the shape of coins to symbolize wealth and prosperity.
    People also used to fly kites to chase away bad energy, and villagers gathered to play yut-nori, a board game of tossing a set of four wooden sticks, and prayed for a bountiful harvest in the fall.
    Many of these games and pastimes are no longer indulged at home. But some people still visit folk museums or parks to remind them of the past.
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