The Korean and Chinese Lunar New Year are the same time, and they have the same zodiac calendar. As we are raising our family we have decided to incorporate parts of the Korean traditions and holidays into our lives for our kids as they grow up. Our version is probably a little rough, but as I was thinking about it, everyone’s Christmas traditions are all a little different and unique to each family, so I have a feeling other countries holidays are the same as well, the basics are there just with each families own flavoring and uniqueness added in.
2017 is the year of the Rooster. The Korean zodiac calendar is based on 12 different animals, and this year happens to be the rooster. In our family of 7, I’m a monkey, Leighton is a water buffalo, Caedmon is a dragon, Edric is a snack, Paxton and Coppelia are sheep, and Clint is a pig. He prefers to say that he is a boar, but I remind him that he’s actually a pig.
For holidays it is very typical for Koreans to wear their traditional clothing known as a hanbok. My boys actually call them their “Korean Ninja Clothes”, and asked from the time we got home from church when they could put their ninja clothes on. And once I finally relented and they put their ninja clothes on I attempted to get photos of them. I have a ton of outtakes, and a few that actually look 1/2 way decent. Oh well. I don’t have traditional shoes for them, and we only have one hat, but I’m just glad we can get the clothes on and they enjoy wearing them.
Traditionally people eat Tteokguk which is a soup with sliced rice cakes in it. About a month ago Clint found a recipe that was a chicken soup dish that had the rice cakes in it that everyone enjoyed eating. It’s not quite the true Tteokguk but it was very good and everyone enjoyed it. We also had homemade fried rice which is not Korean at all, but oh well. Fruit is also very important during the New Year Celebration, and we had pineapple with our dinner which was quite good.
Another part of the New Year Celebration in Korea is Sebae, which is elder worship. We aren’t totally into that, but we took parts of it. Traditionally the children will bow before their elders and then receive blessings from their elders. Instead we gathered together and prayed over each of our children and our family as a whole. Gifts in the form of crisp money and treats are then given to the children, we chose to give the boys each one half dollar and some chocolate pieces which they loved.
Family games are a big part of the New Years Celebration in Korea and so when we were done with our chocolates we gathered and played Apples to Apples. I’m pretty sure in Korea they play more traditional games, but we had fun playing and ultimately in the end it ended up with Clint and I demonstrating how to do the Chicken Dance (it was on one of the cards). And so we finished the night with all of us doing the chicken dance a number of times in the middle of the living room.
And with that, the year of the rooster is officially here! In Korea they would say “Please receive good fortune for the New Year”d