This Seollal (설날) we went to Min Jae's Uncle's house in the morning. When we arrived there, the ceremony table was in the middle of being set up. It looks like the setup of Chuseok. (read this post if you are not yet familiar with the ceremony) But with not all the same dishes. For example it's custom to eat tteokguk ( soup with rice cake) for the New Year.
I really like the sincerity of these Korean ceremonies. Like Chuseok we pay respect by bowing and pouring whine for the ancestors. There is a right order in how things are supposed to go. Min Jae's uncle even uses a manual for the correct placement of the dishes. Nobody in the family takes pictures. (I do sometimes, but never during a ceremony, it feels a little too inappropriate). These ceremonies feel really spiritual to me and I admire the effort and respect that goes into them.
Afterwards Min Jae and I bowed for his parents, uncles and their wives. (This doesn't happen at Chuseok.) We received money in an envelope and they wished us happiness and let us -very subtle- know they'd like a grandchild this year- No pressure.
After Seollal greetings and breakfast his parents took us to the Korean folk village in Suwon. It's usually not that far of a drive. But I wouldn't recommend driving there when its Seollal and roads are all coloured red on the GPS-system. But it's definitely fun visiting during Seollal as a lot of people and kids came in hanbok (free entree if you are in hanbok!). They also had a huge bonfire as celebration of the New Year. There was traditional dancing/music, games and horseback riding.
There is an interesting museum explaining a lot of Korean tradition and history. Did you know if you want to get pregnant with a baby boy you are recommended to eat chicken and fish? There are no tips on how to get a girl though. :/ When a boy is born they used to hang peppers on a string on the door. When it was a girl it was coal. Seriously! Or did you know that it was believed sleeping early on the day of New Year makes you grow old faster. When kids used to doze off the parents sometimes put white powder on their eyebrows to give them a little scare. There are many of these little bits of information that are just fun to know.
And if you like learning more about Korea's history I'd like to recommend the Topics In Korean History Podcast. Here is the website.
Visit the Korean Folk Village website for all the information you could possibly need!
And have a very good start of the new year!