Happy Seollal! Which is to say Happy Lunar New Year’s Day! Seollal 설날 is New Year’s Day in Korea and one of the most important traditional Korean holidays of the year. While Koreans celebrate the western Solar New Year, they also celebrate the beginning of the Lunar New Year. (Yes, two New Years because Koreans are party animals.) To honor Soon Skincare’s Korean heritage we’re spreading a bit of New Year cheer—새해 복 많이 받으세요! Saehae bok manee badesaeyo!—and for the uninitiated offering a primer on all things Seollal.
Seollal celebrations usually take place over three days. Tradition? Sure. But also—party animals. Much like New Years in the US, people take time to visit their families and hometowns. (The traffic jams around this time are legendary.) During the days of the New Year, families prepare ancestral ritual of charae, an altar of offerings with candles, food, gifts, and other relics to honor the ancestors. Families wake up early and dress in traditional hanbok (colorful traditional Korean clothes) and offer seh bae (a deep bow) to their ancestors as well as familial elders and wish them to “receive a lot of good luck in the new year.” Children receive gifts of money and everyone exchanges well wishes. Next comes the feasting.
Like any holiday worth celebrating, Seollal involves food. LOTS of food. 2019 is the year of the pig so no holding back. Often gifts of food are given to the host family but there is a general exchange of food all around. The traditional New Year’s meal is tteokguk (rice cake soup) and mandu guk (dumpling soup). It’s a common practice to tell children they can’t get older if they don’t eat some of the soup. (Classic.) The white rice cakes in the soup represent a clean slate and new beginning.
After the feasting, it’s game time. Families play traditional games like yutnori (traditional board games), noltigi (kite flying), spinning tops, or less traditional but equally fun, karaoke and K-Pop videos. Then it’s the usual holiday chatting, chillaxing, and enjoying/enduring your family. Naturally, we recommend a little New Year renewal and pampering.
If you’re celebrating Soellal or even if you’re not, treat yourself and your loved ones to some Soon Skincare goods. Give your skin a bit of the New Year clean slate and new beginning feeling—offer a lip mask to that too talkative relative for a few minutes peace, have a laugh with your fave cousin in a face mask, or let your nieces and nephews try the eye masks (or as mine like to call them “snails”) on their eyes. It’s nice to share the love and put your best face forward to 2019, again.