Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Lunar New Year!

When I return to work on Wednesday after a four-day vacation in the name of the Lunar New Year, my Korean colleagues will all be a year older. Never having adhered to customs associated with the moon, I'll still be 26 (not 28--Koreans are considered one year old at birth and add on one year with each birthday, as well as on the Lunar New Year). So I'm spared a year, but since I don't really celebrate Seollal I did miss out on something many across the country received as a token of love or appreciation on Korea's most widely celebrated holiday: a gift set. From the practical to the extravagant, the edible to the spreadable, almost anything can be found packaged neatly in a gift set around the Lunar New Year. A local newspaper reported that ginseng is this year's gift of choice, but multi-packs of Spam, soap, assorted nuts, cooking oil, toothbrushes, whisky, tuna cans, apples, instant coffee, and moisturizers are also in bountiful supply in supermarkets, big box stores, and even convenience stores. These economic arrangements are typical around Christmas in the U.S., but the variety pales in comparison to what Korea has to offer. I'm not sure what giving (or receiving) a two-year supply of toothpaste says, but I've certainly seen worse gifts.

Mushrooms and the like ranging from about $40 up to $100

E-Mart employees were decked out in traditional hanbok a day before Seollal and eagerly peddling gift sets.

Those oughtta be some tasty apples! 12 for ~$45


Anonymous said...

Yeah those apples better taste good, wow. I would rather have a box o' chocolate personally.

John. PIA.

eteacher said...

Spam for New Years! I love Korea!!

Seongsu Kim said...

안녕하세요. 새해 복 많이 받으세요!
Hi, Abby. Happy lunar new year!

음력 설날 연휴는 어떻게 보내셨나요?
How was your lunar new year holiday?

저는 이번 설날에 할머니 댁에서 음식을 너무 많이 먹었어요.
I ate too much food in my grandmother's home.

떡국, 불고기, 더덕무침, 곶감, 수정과... 이런것들 먹어보셨나요?
Dduk-kook, Bulgogi, Duduk-moochim(seasoned Codonopsis lanceolata??), Geoat?-gam(Dried persimmoon), 수정과(Cinnamon punch)... Did you ate these food?

할머니가 직접 만든건 정말 맛있어요. ㅎ(laugh sound (H-))
Those food are really delicious, made from my grandmother. hhh

한국은 새해가 두 번 이라서 좋지 않나요?
Do you like it has new year holiday two times in korea?

설날이나 추석이 되면 여러가지 선물들을 주고받아요.
People give or receive some present in Seol-nal and Chooseok.

저는 이번에 김 선물세트를 받았답니다.
I receive a gim(Dried & toasted seaweed)-set.

저는 스팸이나 참치, 김 등을 받는게 좋아요.
I like receiving spam, tuna and gim-set.

왜냐하면 저는 혼자 살기 때문에 매일 아침 먹을 때 편하거든요... ^^
Because I live alone. that is very handy in every morning...

한국에서는 만들어진 선물세트를 주고 받는걸 좋아해요.
In korea. People like ready-made gift set.

대부분의 한국 사람들은 남보다 튀는걸 별로 좋아하지 않아서 그런것 같아요.
Because I think most Korean people don't like attention themselves.

어쨌든, 만약 선물세트가 많이 모이면, 가족들 끼리 나누어 갖기도 한답니다.
Anyway, If we collected many gift set, Family members divide gift set and take them. (in my case... I am not live with my parents)

글이 길어졌네요 ^^;
I wrote too much ^^;

새해엔 원하는 일들 다 이루길 바랄게요.
I wist you achieve what you want all the things.(?) bye~

Peter said...

A -

Wondering if the adoration for Spam in South Korea is as emphatic as in Hawai'i?

Hope and trust all is well.



Abby Rhodes said...

Hi, everyone! Thanks to all of you for your comments.

John, I was given a "special" apple on the Lunar New Year. It was quite good, but I don't know if it was THAT good! I, too, would prefer chocolate, but I usually opt for the less healthy treats. :)

Seongsu, thanks for another detailed and helpful post! You're becoming a great teacher for me. Did I tell you that I'm studying Korean every day now?

Peter, I'm not sure how enthusiastic Hawaiians are about Spam, but I'm sure Koreans would be strong rivals. Spam is ubiquitous here. Unfortunately, I don't really like it, but I must say it's grown on me a bit in the last year.

Have a great weekend everyone!