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Seasonal customs

January

New Year's Day

New Year's Day is the biggest holiday in Korea, as it is the beginning and the first day of the new year. Seasonal customs for New Year's Day include ceremonial rites, New Year's bow, New Year's dress, and words of blessing. The most representative dish for this holiday is the rice cake soup.

Jeongwol Daeboreum (The first full moon of the lunar year)

Jeongwol means the first month of the year. This holiday is a time to seek harmony between people and the gods, between people and people, and between people and nature. It is also the time of the year to make plans for the upcoming year and try taking the auspices.

March

Samwol Samjitnal (The third day of the third lunar month)

Samwol Samjitnal is a holiday that announces the coming of spring. This is the day when the swallows return and snakes come out from their hibernation. In addition to serving of various food and seasonal dishes, this holiday is characterized by the hosting of ceremonial rites for agriculture in order to wish for a bountiful harvest for the year.

April

Hansik (The 105th day after the winter solstice)

Hansik is a day when you need to avoid hot food and eat only cold food. During this time, farmers need to start the preparatory work for rice farming and all households prepare food to hold ceremonial rites for the ancestors.

Buddha's Birthday (April 8th)

This day is also known as Buddha's birthday. The most common custom is to light up the lamps. Several days before the holiday, households and temples make different types of lamps and light up the lamps on the night of the holiday.

May

Dano (The fifth day of the fifth month of the year in the lunar calendar)

holidays of the season. Dano is the day with the most yanggi (Yang material force), thus it is considered to be an important holiday. The day is celebrated by hosting various folk games and events, such as the geune ttwigi(Swing jump) and ssireum(Wrestling).

Sambok (Hottest period of summer)

Sambok is the hottest days of the year. During the Joseon Dynasty, children and women enjoyed summer fruits while adults prepared food and drinks and held picnics on the mountain and creeks to escape from the heat.

June

Sambok (Hottest period of summer)

Sambok is the hottest days of the year. During the Joseon Dynasty, children and women enjoyed summer fruits while adults prepared food and drinks and held picnics on the mountain and creeks to escape from the heat.

July

Chilseok (July 7th in the lunar calendar)

Chilseok is named so because it takes place on July 7th. It is the one day of the year when Gyeongwoo and Jiknyuh, the star-crossed lovers, are allowed to meet. The love story between these two characters has been passed down as a local myth.

August

Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day - August 15th in the lunar calendar)

Chuseok is one of the four major holidays in Korea, and it is also called 'Hangawi.' The term 'Hangawi' denotes the middle of the month of August. During this holiday, Koreans tidy up the burial sites of their ancestors, hold ceremonial rites, and play folk games such as sonori(Ox play), geobuknori(Turtle play), ganggang sullae(Group circle dance), gama ssaum(Palanquin battle), and ssireum(Wrestling).

November

Dongji (Winter solstice)

Dongji is one of the 24 divisions in the lunar calendar. It is the day of the year with the longest night and the shortest day. From this day on, the days start to get longer and thus it is considered to be a day that marks the beginning of a new year. In the past, our ancestors considered Dongji to be the next joyous occasion after New Year's Day.

* Source: National Folk Museum of Korea

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