The Day Koreans Get Older Together
안녕하세요, it’s Ari, your friendly Korean source. Happy New Year’s Eve! 🎉 Today’s newsletter is about what Koreans do to celebrate a new year, how to say your new year’s resolution in Korean, and a delicious winter food recipe. Let’s start!
👋 What Up Korea?
What Koreans do to celebrate New Year
🔔 Hit Bells
Instead of dropping a ball, we hit big bells at midnight on New Year's Eve. There are big bells in each big cities. A few people are chosen to hit a bell including top athletes and activists. When the midnight nears, the crowd gathers around the bell chanting countdown and taking pics. Bells are hit 33 times which means praying for people's well-being. But following last year, many cities cancelled the bell hit events and Seoul city said it will stream a pre-recorded bell hit video on YouTube.
🌅 Watch last Sunset & first Sunrise
Another thing that Koreans do to celebrate a new year is to watch the last sunset of the year and the first sunrise of a new year. There are some popular sunset/sunrise spots including Sungsan Ilchulbong in Jeju island and Jeongdongjin in Gangneung☝. At this time of year, the spots are very crowded with families, friends, and couples wishing for a great new year.
👵 Get one year older together
Do you know about Korean age? It's a tradition that all Koreans turn 1 the minute they are born and get one year older on the first day of a new year. Let's say that a Korean was born at 23:59 on December 31st in 2021. The minute the baby is born, he/she turns 1. And when the bell hits, the baby turns 2 because we get one year older together. So an 1-min-old baby suddenly becomes a 2-year-old. Because of this crazy age system, many Koreans don’t know their real age. I’ve been seeing many Internet posts saying, “I don’t know my real age. How can I calculate it?” For these people, there’s a real-age calculator which let you know your real age when you put your birthdate.
Let me share my personal story about Korean age. It was my 20th birthday. I was having a party with my friends. They prepared a 🎂 for me. We were about to put candles on the cake. One friend said, “How many candles should I put?” I said, “Two (long candles)…?” A long candle represents 10 years and a short one represents a year. Then another friend said, “Why? You’re 21 (Korean age) so we need to put two long ones and a short one.” Then another friend said, “No, she turns 22 in less than two months (my birthday is November), so I think we need to put two long ones and two short ones.” I remember my friends’ accusing looks when I said “Two…?” They were like, ‘Why do you pretend to be 20 when you’re almost 22?” And we ended up putting four candles (two long and two short) 🙃🙃🙃🙃
🎉 Learn to say ‘Happy New Year!’ in Korean
Because it’s almost new year, let’s learn some new year related Korean sentences! I prepared three sentences that you can write to your favorite K-Pop idol or your Korean friend. Check them out,
새해 복 많이 받으세요. Happy New Year! polite
(남준)아, 새해 복 많이 받아. (Namjoon), Happy New Year! casual
새해 목표는 (다이어트)예요. My New Year’s resolution is (weight loss).
새해 means ‘new year’ and 복 means ‘luck/happiness.’ So 새해 복 많이 받으세요 literally means ‘Get a lot of luck in new year.’
🎤 Rap your Korean for the last time
Send me your ‘Happy New Year’ message! If you’re a beginner Korean learner, speak the three sentences you learned today. You can change a bracketed word in the sentences to make a different sentence. If you’re a more advanced learner or adventurous, send me your voice message about today’s newsletter (your opinion about WUK, etc.).
Send it by next Tuesday KST, then your voice will be on the next podcast episode. If you want my feedback for your Korean speaking, leave a comment after submission. My voicemail will be closed after next week. So this is your last chance to send me your message!
🍳 Maesaengi Oyster Soup
Today’s food is many Koreans’ favorite winter food, 매생이굴국 or Maesaengi oyster soup. Maesangi is a kind of seaweed or green algae. Koreans eat a lot of kinds of seaweed and Maesangi is one of them. It tastes so soft that you don’t even have to use your teeth when eating. Maesangi and oyster tastes the best during the winter so Koreans make a soup with them at this time of year. I heard that oyster is kind of pricey in some countries but in Korea, it’s very cheap (350g fresh oyster is less than 10 USD) so many Koreans enjoy oyster.
I found a really good recipe video for this food with English subtitles. Watch the video here. In the video, the chef uses fresh Maesengi but you’ll probably not find it at your local store. So I found an online store which sells dried Maesaengi in US. Check it out! It’ll be a good replacement. (For those of you who don’t live in US, try your local Asian food market or search Maesaengi to find where to buy.) And you can also replace oyster with clams. Hope you try for yourself to warm your body and heart 😋
Thanks for reading! If you liked my newsletter, support me by buying Korean Vocabulary Exercise Book- Pick a Side! It’s available on my shop (e-book) and Amazon (paperback). Use discount code ‘happyholiday’ to get 15% off when you buy an e-book.
📢 Starting from next year, TLK will be delivered biweekly. Leave your WUK story request in comments! You can also ❤ or share this newsletter! Stay safe🙏 See you next week! 안녕👋