[personal profile] niori_1709
Feb.09-11/13 marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year, called Seolnal. While the Lunar New Year is important here, it doesn't have the pomp and circumstance that our regular New Year has (they celebrate that as well). It's a big family thing, where everyone usually goes to their grandparent's house. It's a holiday that's really big on honouring ancestors. There's a special ceremony, usually at grave sites. It's not completely family orientated in that way, because there were quite a few places that were having weekend long, sampling of traditional events. One of those places, The Namsangol Hanok Village, was where Katie and I decided to spend our Sunday, the actual day of Seolnal.

A hanok village is a replica of traditional Korean family homes, usually including a number of old buildings relocated from other areas of Seoul. The rooms are set up like they would have been, though you can only look in. They're a lot like King's Landing up near Fredericton, albeit smaller (at least Namsangol is). There are actors in costume, and a tour is offered (even if we didn't take it this time). I love the architecture here, because it's so different from anything back home. The detail work, especially some of the art and detail work, is superb. I would have been content to just spend the day wandering around the village itself.

Another interesting fact about Namsangol Hanok Village. Seoul's official time capsule is buried there. It was buried back in 1994 to mark the 600th anniversary of Seoul being Seoul's capital city. That's a very long time for one city to be the capital. There aren't even cities that old in Canada. Another impressive number? The time capsule is going to be opened in a thousand years from when it was buried. Most cities aim for a hundred, but not Seoul. They are a hundred perfect sure that, not only will Seoul still be here in a thousand years, but it will still be as important as it is today.

For New Years, Namsangol was having some special events. There were a bunch of different things you could do, like making kites, painting tops and painting the traditional Korean drama masks. I painted a top, and would have liked to do a mask as well, but by that time, I was chilled to the bone and just wanted to get inside and get warm. There were also samples of food you could try, and there were games set up that you could try your hand at. There was a fortune teller there to tell fortunes for the new year, but unfortunately, it was only in Korean. I did, however, write out my New Year's wish. What you do is write your wish for the new year on a piece of coloured tissue paper. Then, you tie that piece of paper onto a length of rope set up like a fence.
We also caught some performances. The first was a drum show, while a random tiger character danced for awhile, which was neat. There was also some really talented women singing folk songs. I have no idea what the songs were about, but I really liked them.

Basically, I had a really great Seolnal my first year in Korea. It was a lot of fun despite the cold. Namsangol Hanok Village was the perfect place to spend it, and I certainly enjoyed my first Korean Lunar New Year.

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