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Happy Lunar New Year (Seollal)!

17 Feb

Last year I wrote a lot about the Korean New Year.  Get a good explanation about how the Lunar New Year works in Korea by reading that POST.  In 2015, the Lunar New Year will be celebrated on February 18, 2015.  2014 has been the Year of the Horse and 2015 will be the Year of the Sheep.

chinese-new-year-300x300

You can read even more about the traditions of the Korean New Year Seollal HERE.

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Happy Chuseok Everyone!

8 Sep

Celebrate Korean Thanksgiving “Chuseok” from September 8-10, 2014.

Charlotte Rose Mills in her Hanbok

Charlotte Rose Mills in her Hanbok

As explained by the Korea Tourism Site,

“Chuseok (추석) is the biggest and most important holiday in Korea. Family members from near and far come together to share food and stories and to give thanks to their ancestors for the abundant harvest. Chuseok Day falls on September 9 in 2014, but the holiday is observed for a total of three days (September 8-10).”

Read more about the traditions of Korean Thanksgiving HERE

Chuck and Soon Cross.  Soon in her Hanbok

Chuck and Soon Cross. Soon in her Hanbok

Happy Lunar New Year 음력 설날 (Seollal)!

29 Jan

Like most western cultures, Koreans celebrate the New Year according to the Gregorian calendar (Dec. 31 – Jan. 1).  But in Korea, the much much bigger celebration is the Lunar New Year called Seollal 음력 설날.

chinese-new-year-300x300The date of the Lunar New Year varies every year.  It falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice.  In 2014, the Lunar New Year falls on January 30th.  At least that is what the astronomers say.

Seollal is the most celebrated traditional Korean holiday. Like CHUSEOK, Seollal is a three-day holiday.  All of Korea takes to the road to travel to where the family is.  Because of traffic, it takes a whole day for everyone to get through the traffic jams.  They spend a day with the family.  Then on the third day of the holiday, they head back to their own homes so that they can start work the next day.  

There are lots of traditional things that happen on the Lunar New Year.  For example, the family plays games and the elders give the kids gifts of money.  Read more about the traditions of the Korean New Year Seollal HERE.

But one more thing.  Everyone in Korea gets a year older on the Lunar New Year.  In Korea, everyone is counted as being one-year-old on the day that they are born.  They then turn two-years-old on the first Lunar New Year after they are born.  For example, if you were born on the day before the Lunar New Year, you would be one for that day only and then you would turn two the next day.  But if you were born the day after the Lunar New Year, you would wait 364 days before you would turn two-years-old. The actual anniversary of your birth takes a back seat to this Korean traditional “birthday” celebration.

So get out your streamers and noise makers.  2014 will be the Year of the Horse.  Let’s get this party started.

Christmas Is Just Around The Corner!

15 Dec

According to the Korean National Statistical Office in 2005, most people in Korea claim no religious affiliation.

Religion Korea

Korean Religious Affiliations According To Korean National Statistical Office In 2005

Those who do are either Buddhist or Christian.  So Christmas Day is celebrated as a Korean National holiday on December 25 of every year.  (Just to let you know, Buddha gets equal time for his own birthday celebration on the 8th day of the 4th Lunar Month (May 6th in 2014).  My report on Korean Christmas is upcoming.  Please stay tuned.

The Presentation of The Nutcracker Ballet in Korea

The Presentation of The Nutcracker Ballet in Korea

But in the meantime, here is a great reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

Story of Christmas - an infographic

Click to learn more about the story of Christmas.

Korea Seoul Mission Chuseok 2013

28 Sep

Before leaving Chuseok 2013 behind us, please enjoy this photo of all of the missionaries in the Korea Seoul Mission who gathered to celebrate and give thanks.

Korea Seoul Mission Celebrating Chuseok 2013

Korea Seoul Mission Celebrating Chuseok 2013

Chuseok 추석 Korean Missionary Style

24 Sep

Hi all!  Hope you have been well!

This week was 추석 (Chuseok).  Basically, its Korea’s version of Thanksgiving.  I posted a link to Chuseok last week HERE.  I’ve got another one this WEEK.  On Chuseok, the entire country shuts down for 3 or 4 days so everyone can have time to travel to their hometown and spend the holiday with their families.  What ends up happening is people sit in traffic jams the day before the holiday.  They spend the actual holiday with their families.  On the day after, they sit in traffic jams all day so that they can get home.  Families are really important. Because everyone is so busy with travelling and eating food and paying respect to their ancestors, missionary work is hard during Chuseok.  Since we the missionaries don’t have our families around, we get to do other fun things.  Our추석 holiday went a little like this.

Wednesday afternoon:  We beat the rush of people on the train going into Seoul.  We arrived at about 5:00 p.m.  We walked around and talked to the few people on the mostly empty streets and then slept in the temple boarding rooms that night.

Thursday:  We attended our Mission Conference.  Every missionary in the Seoul mission converged on one poor little chapel.  We met together and had a testimony meeting.  We heard from our Mission President.  President Christensen talked about being a better light to those around us.  The meeting was super spiritual.

Sis. Jeong in her hanbok!

Sis. Jeong in her hanbok!

Then came the good stuff.  We ate food.  Lots of food.  Never ending food.  Infinite food. (You get the picture). For example, the missionaries consumed only 100kg (220lbs) of kimchi with our meal.  The rest of the day was a super rare, break day.  We stayed at the Church.  The Korean Sisters and Elders telephoned their parents.  Overall, it was food and good times all around.  That night we said goodbye to everyone, boarded our trains and headed home.  Surprisingly, the rush back home had not yet started so the train was not that crowded.  Then, the real work began.

Friday morning: Traditionally, this is Korean Missionary Apartment Cleaning Day.  Every year, the missionaries are SUPPOSED to deep clean everything in their apartment top to bottom.  Move fridge & stove and all that jazz.  Basically make it sparkle. I knew that I was in for a treat when I found a post-it-note dated from three-year ago.  Apparently, What was supposed to have been happening, just hadn’t happened at all.

Elder's Apartment Before. . .

Elder’s Apartment Before. . .

Cleaning the fridge on the balcony

Cleaning the fridge on the balcony.

We spent nine hours cleaning that day.  We cleaned as much as we could and then we went to sleep.  I think that it is the most tired I’ve ever been.

The next day, Saturday, we got up and finished the job and took pics, pics and more pics.  Check ‘em out!   FINALLY we finished.  I think our apartment looks great!

Can't think of a better way to spend a holiday.

Elder’s Apartment After!

It was a great week, I ate so much food and I loved it!  I love you guys!  Have a great week!

Love Ian.

Happy Chuseok Everyone!

18 Sep

Celebrate Korean Thanksgiving “Chuseok” from September 18-20, 2013.

Charlotte Rose Mills in her Hanbok

Charlotte Rose Mills in her Hanbok

As explained by the Korea Tourism Site,

“Chuseok (추석) is the biggest and most important holiday in Korea. Family members from near and far come together to share food and stories and to give thanks to their ancestors for the abundant harvest. Chuseok Day falls on September 19 in 2013, but the holiday is observed for a total of three days (September 18 – 20).”

Read more about the traditions of Korean Thanksgiving HERE

Chuck and Soon Cross.  Soon in her Hanbok

Chuck and Soon Cross. Soon in her Hanbok

Cori in Korea

Ian's Got Seoul

Elder Cole Nixon

Ian's Got Seoul

Elder Ian Mills

Ian's Got Seoul