Today is the start of one of the biggest celebrations of the year in Korea. It's Korean New Year, the year of the ox! Asians originally followed the lunar calendar. They have since adopted the regular Gregorian calendar that we use, but they still celebrate several of their holidays on dates based on the lunar calendar.
Korean New Year generally falls on the day of the second new moon after winter solstice. It's a huge celebration that lasts for three days.
I didn't get things together in time to celebrate it this year, but I think starting next year our family is going to start having a traditional Korean celebration on Korean New Year. There are lots of really fun traditions that I think would be fun for our family. My favorite is that on New Years day children wish their parents a happy new year by performing a deep traditional bow and the words saehae bok manhi badeuseyo, which translates to "may you receive many blessings in the new year". Parents typically reward this gesture by giving their children new year's money and offering words of wisdom. I love that idea! There are cute little silk pouches that you put the money in.
There's also a really fun Korean board game that they play during the New Year celebration. It's called Yutnori. I've read the directions for it and I basically know how to play it, but I'm having a hard time finding a place to buy the game. It's traditionally played on a square of embroidered silk fabric, and the all the ones I can find are cheap paper versions. It's possible to buy the real silk version, I just haven't been able to track one down. I only found one online store that carries it and they were out of stock. I might just have to wait and buy one we go to Korea.
The more I learn about Korean culture the more I really love it. I've developed a real love and admiration for the country and the people. I started out learning more about Korea because I felt like I needed to familiarize myself with my daughters birth country, but now it's become more than that. Now it's not because I feel like I have to, it's because I really genuinely love the culture. It's a beautiful country that I can't WAIT to visit!