This coming Tuesday is Sol Nal, the Korean New Year, and everyone is preparing. We went to E-Mart today, and it was completely crowded! People were everywhere trying to buy things to prepare for the holiday. Some people have off work all week this next week because this is one of the two biggest holidays of the year in Korea. The other is Chooseok in the fall. (If you are interested in Chooseok, you can look through my blogs and find blogs about it.) Sol Nal is the New Year according to the solar calendar that the older people in Korea use. In America, they call this the “Chinese New Year,” but it is not just celebrated in China, but in other Oriental countries too. There are signs everywhere that Sol Nal is coming.
When we were trying to get into E-Mart today, there was a traffic jam. We usually try to park up on the third floor of the parking garage because it is the floor where the food court is. If we can’t park on the third floor, we usually always find a vacant parking space on the fourth floor. However, today, we had to go all the way up to the 5th floor before we could find a parking space. There were people everywhere directing traffic. Koreans love to direct traffic, but they were out in force today! There was a traffic jam inside of the parking garage. They had to open up an alternate route for people to get out of the parking garage because so many cars were jammed in.
When we got to the food court to eat our lunch, it was completely crowded. We were lucky to get a table, and before we were finished, there were people standing next to our table waiting for us to get up so they could have our table.We went on shopping after that, and the crowds shopping were overwhelming too. There were some aisles where we just couldn’t push our shopping cart because there were too many people, and we gave up even going into the vegetable area thinking we could make due with what we have.
They were buying children’s hanboks last time I was at E-Mart, and they are still going after them.
Here are some of the traditional cookies they were buying for Sol Nal. The one on the left are soft with sweet bean paste in the middle. The ones on the right are spun sugar. They are both delicious!
There were people browsing the children’s hanboks (traditional Korean clothing) that the children wear on Sol Nal. There were people buying Sal Nal gifts. People were buying Sol Nal table sets. Some were buying Korean traditional cookies. Others were getting cooking supplies to make traditional food.
There will traffic jams all over Korea, even out in the country, this next week because everyone will be going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They will be bowing before Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa will be giving bags of money to the kids who will be dressed in traditional Korean clothing, the hanbok. They will be eating seaweed soup, kimchee, rice, fruit, chapchay (a kind of clear rice noodles with pieces of vegetables in them), traditional Korean cookies, and probably other things I don’t know about. They will be playing Yoot Noree. (If you want to play Yoot Noree, look back at my blog about it. All the rules and how to make a game to play are there. ) Many will also be playing another Korean game called “Go/Stop.” I will be writing a blog about that game too. I have played it, but it is hard to get all the rules right, and I am working on getting the rules right before I write about it for you.
When Christmas comes in America, when you leave your house, you can feel the atmosphere among the people. The same is here in Korea when Sol Nal comes. These people are all excitedly preparing for a very big holiday! We thought about going to the mall today too to pick up a few things, but we decided we could wait for those things until after the holiday is finished because there are just too many traffic jams and too many people out shopping trying to prepare. “Sehe bok manee batooseyo!” That is how you say “happy New Year!” in Korean.