새해 복 많이 받으세요!
That’s “Happy New Year” in Korean. This will be my first time celebrating Korean New Year in 15 years. Back when my family and I were living in the States and Shanghai, it was not a huge part of our lives. The morning of, we would call our relatives back in Korea to bid them “happy new year” before carrying the day on as usual. That was as far as our “tradition” would go.
Now that I’m back in Korea, I’m planning to visit my relatives, eat delicious traditional Korean dishes, and spend the day welcoming another year. I’m actually excited because in the past, family reunions such as this were a rarity for me simply because of the distance.
Come to think of it, when I was growing up, our family never really celebrated anything grandly. Holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas were never a big thing, since my parents didn’t really care much for the Western holidays. We never really celebrated Korean holidays like the New Year or Chuseok either because we were so far away from relatives and just didn’t have enough motivation to celebrate on our own. Maybe my parents weren’t really festive people, in general. Therefore, I grew up never experiencing the joys of gathering and celebrating together. We would sometimes go through a year with hardly celebrating anything, even birthdays! It was just a weird family culture I grew up in. I’m not saying that anyone is at fault, however, I’ll admit that I always felt a slight void during big holidays because of my experiences, or lack thereof.
But this isn’t entirely a bad thing. In fact, it feels good to know that I can finally join in the festivities like everyone else, and be showered by warmth and love from my beloved family members. I cannot wait to stuff my face with amazing home-cooked Korean dishes, catch up with my relatives on what they’ve been up to since I’ve been away, and tune into holiday special TV shows that will be playing all day. I’m not even asking for anything grand or extravagant – in the end, everything comes down to family, no?
Are you celebrating the Korean New Year or the Lunar New Year? Or what does your Wednesday look like?