Korean New Year

Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo (새해 복 많이 받으세요) - known as HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Korean New Year, also known as ‘Seollal’ is a time for celebration and tradition, being celebrated on the 1st February this year. It’s a vibrant festival and national holiday that falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. This event marks the first day of the Korean calendar and is considered as one of the most important holidays.

‘Seollal’ is influenced by China and is based on the lunar cycle. Each year represents a different animal with the cycle being repeated every 12 years. The animals include; a mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The order in which these animals are placed is thought to have been based on the sequence in which they were invited to see the Buddha.

Additionally, some Koreans believe that the animal representing the year that a new baby is born will attribute specific characteristics and qualities to the child. Seeing as this is the year of the tiger, children born in 2022 will ooze sensitivity, courage and power. Cool, right?

In addition to the yummy foods, family reunions and traditions surrounding the Korean New Year, another reason that ‘Seollal’ is significant is the custom of giving and receiving lots of gifts! (I mean, we won’t say no to a gift or two!) Need inspiration? We’ve compiled a list to help…

Gifts could include fresh fruits, honey, gift baskets that are specifically filled with dried fruits, tuna, spam and traditional sweets. These gifts normally represent gratitude and love, and can be extended beyond the family, to work colleagues and even business partners. A little hint for senior giftees, health foods such as ginseng, vitamins and herbal medicines are popular choices.

You can even participate in the NY by playing folk games - the most commonly played being ‘Yut Nori’, an old school Korean board game that the whole family can enjoy. However, men often go out kite flying while young women are involved in a popular activity ‘neol ddwigi’.

If you’re wondering what some of the most popular dishes are for this time of the year, here we are to give you the 411. First up, ‘Tteokguk’ which is rice cake soup - a starchy yet soothing bowl of soup that’s a beloved New Year’s tradition. Along with this, kimchi dumplings, crab omelettes and stuffed shiitake mushrooms are winners in Korea too. YUM.

If you’re looking to add extra taste to the festivities, we’ve got you covered. With our new Korean Hot Food Menu that’s in collaboration with The Vegetarian Butcher, you’ll find a bowl for everyone to enjoy.

Funnily enough, the rice you’ll find at the base of our bibimbaps or bulgogis was often used way back when as currency in Korea. So, if you’re feeling feisty, try to pay a bill (or two) with these new hot food dishes! We’d love to know how you get on…

Korean tradition suggests that food is harmonious and almost medicine-like. Colour and flavour combinations make a huge difference to those choosing dinner, lunch or breakfast options, so we’re sure that our fiery kimchi noodles and vibrant bulgogi bowls will make eyes much larger than stomachs.

Be sure to check out the Sushi Daily site to see what’s hot and make your order in time for NY.