Happy Lunar New Year!

Korea recently celebrated one of their biggest holidays of the year, the Lunar New Year, or Seollal.

This holiday is marked by a large exodus of families heading to the countryside to visit their mothers, fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers. Families cook special meals for the dead, and carry them to their graves hidden on mountainsides beneath the pines. Candles are lit and ancestors are remembered and revered.

Money is handed down to the children, who often dress in traditional garb–hanbok, who must first bow to their elders to receive the cash tucked into an envelope.

But for us, a couple of foreigners, we celebrated the day at home with a quiet afternoon. That was until our doorbell rang and our lovely neighbors–their whole family–came over to bring us a nice Seollal lunch. It is tradition to eat rice cake soup on the first day of the new year. They brought that and some beautiful fruit.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2011–the Year of the Rabbit!