Happy Korean New Year 2023: Date, History, Lucky Animal, Rituals, Celebration & More

The festival and the federal holiday known as Seollal honours the start of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. It is one of the most significant traditional holidays on the Korean Peninsula and is observed in both North and South Korea.
Happy Korean New Year
Happy Korean New Year

Happy Korean New Year 2023: The festival and national holiday known as Seollal (Korean New Year) honours the beginning of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Being observed in both North Korea and South Korea, it is one of the most significant traditional holidays on the Korean Peninsula. The three days of festivities typically include the day before New Year's, New Year's Day, and the day after New Year's.


Lunar New Year in Korea The Korean equivalent of the Chinese New Year is called Seollal. It is observed concurrently with Chinese New Year and, as its name suggests, is based on the lunar calendar. Unless there is an intercalary eleventh or twelfth month in the run-up to the New Year, Seollal, or Korean New Year, usually takes place in January or February on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In this scenario, the New Year coincides with the third new moon following the solstice. It is observed on January 22nd of this year.


It is thought that the Korean New Year celebration began in the third century. Samguk yusa, a document created in the thirteenth century, contains Korea's own account of the new year's celebration. In 488 AD, the new year was observed while Silla was ruled by its twenty-first king. According to the Korean historical work, Korean New Year was one of the nine major Korean festivals that included ancestral rites.

Korea was formally annexed by the Japanese Empire in 1910, following years of conflict, intimidation, and political manoeuvring. The Japanese reiterated their ban on celebrating Seollal during this time. Prior to the start of the Korean War in 1950 and after Korea was liberated in 1945, the provisional Korean government set aside the first three days of January as a public holiday. The idea that Seollal should be re-designated as a national holiday was widely held by South Koreans in the 1980s. The original New Year Seollal was designated as the official Korean New Year and a national holiday in 1989 after the Roh Tae-woo administration agreed with the public that the old New Year's Day should be revitalized.

Korean New Year 2023: Traditions and Customs

Sebae is a filial piety ritual that is customarily practised on Seollal. People who are dressed in traditional garb with their grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles a happy new year by making a deep traditional bow (rites that require more than one bow are typically performed for the deceased) and saying, "Please receive a lot of good fortune for the New Year." Elders typically reward children for their good deeds by giving them Sebaet Don, or "pocket money," which is usually presented to them in the form of crisp paper money, along with words of wisdom (dkdam). In the past, parents would give their kids fruit and rice cakes, or "ddeok."

Lighting a "moon house" made of burnable firewood and branches is another tradition observed. This represents the new year's warding off of evil spirits. The moon house is frequently supplemented with wishes that people hope will come true in the upcoming year.

Korean New Year 2023: Lucky Animals

The zodiac that Koreans use is the same as the one that Chinese people use. With the rat or mouse standing in for the first year, a total of 12 animals represent the 12 years in chronological order. Only 12 of the animals that Buddha is said to have invited to come to visit actually did so. He honoured them by naming the years in the order in which they arrived as payment. Koreans think that particular animals from the zodiac bring particular resources and qualities. The fourth animal in the twelve-year cycle of the zodiac, the rabbit, is regarded as the luckiest, and its year is 2023. People who were born in the year of the rabbit are regarded as watchful, clever, quick-witted, and inventive. The animal is also thought to represent beauty, grace, and mercy.

Korean New Year 2023: Traditional Food


Tteokguk, a traditional soup made of rice cakes (tteok), is the main course served on New Year's Day in South Korea. It is typically garnished with thinly sliced egg, green onion, and meat. Tteokguk, a Seollal dish that symbolizes luck, fresh starts, and numerous Korean holiday customs, has deep symbolic significance.


The traditional Korean New Year's feast includes savoury pancakes called jeon. The accompanying side dishes are fried, flour-based side dishes that come with a variety of fillings, including meat, seafood, and vegetables. The most popular fillings for the crispy pancakes are shredded beef, oysters, kimchi, and green onions, among the many variations.


A dish of clear cellophane noodles made from potato starch, beef, vegetables like spinach, carrots, mushrooms, and chilli peppers make up japchae. Japchae was initially created by a servant of King Gwangaegun without any noodles or meat at all, but it has since changed to become Korea's well-known celebratory noodle dish.

The Korean New Year is celebrated with a variety of ancient games. Yutnori, a classic family board game, continues to be well-liked, especially around the Korean New Year. It is regarded as suitable for all ages and genders and is played with a set of specially made sticks. Men and boys used to play jegichagi, a game in which a light object is wrapped in paper or cloth and kicked in a footbag-like fashion, as well as fly rectangle kites called Yeon. Women and girls used to play neolttwigi, gongginori, and gonggi.

Check other important days and events in January 2023

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