In Korea, Lunar New Year’s Day (Seollal) is one of the most important traditional events of the year, still much more significant than January 1st. This year, the Lunar New Year will be celebrated on January 28 – 30, 2006

The Korean New Year uses the Lunar Calendar and is different from the Western New Year. By the Western Calendar, January 1st is the New Year, however by the 2006 Lunar Calendar the New Year starts January 28.

On Seollal, Koreans wear the hanbok (traditional Korean costume), have ancestor-memorial services, bow to their elders and wish each other a Happy New Year. On New Year’s morning, Koreans eat tteokguk (rice-cake soup). After eating tteokguk, it is considered truly the New Year.

The hanbok, which is worn on this day, has beautiful colors, making it popular among foreigners. Good places to buy a hanbok include: Gwangjang Market, Namdaemun Market, Daehyeong Shopping Mall and Dusan Tower. In Jongno 5-ga, mid-size Hanbok shops are concentrated at Gwangjang Market. In Namdaemun Market at Jungangsang-ga, C-dong, there are also mid-size hanbok stores and on the seventh floor of Dusan Tower there are many hanbok shops. Depending on the design, a hanbok can cost anywhere between 200,000 and one million won.

Traditional Korean folk games are also played such as Yutnori (a board game played by tossing sticks), Paengichigi (top spinning) and Neolttwigi (standing, high-jump seesaw). People see fortunetellers about the coming year. Also, Koreans visit many places and hold events at the Korean Folk Village, Namsan Folk Museum or visit the old palaces. Foreign visitors wishing to observe these traditional Korean customs can visit the Namsan Folk Village and several Korean cultural sites hold various special events including these folk games, for all to enjoy!

For information on Korea, please visit www.tour2korea.com or call 1-800-TOUR-KORE(A)

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