For Seasonal Occasions
Seollal- Lunar New Year’s Day
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, Koreans hold a memorial
service for their ancestors, and perform "sebae",
a formal bow of respect to their elders as a New Year's greeting.
The most common food for this day is tteokguk (rice cake soup).
In Korea, it is said that you cannot become a year older without
eating a bowl of tteokguk on New Year's Day.
Daeboreum- First Full Moon Day
The first full moon day of the New Year is the time to perform
rites to help avert disasters and bad luck. The most typical
dishes for this day are ogokbap (steamed rice with five grains:
rice, red bean, kidney bean and two kinds of millet) and mugeun
namul (9 to 12 different dried vegetable dishes such as bracken
fern, radish leaves, bellflower roots, mushrooms, etc.). At
dawn on "jeongwol daeboreum", people crack walnuts,
chestnuts or peanuts and sip rice wine, praying for good health
for the whole year.
Three days to mark the hottest period of summer
The three days of chobok, jungbok, and malbok are called sambok,
and they mark respectively the beginning, middle and end of
the lunar calendar's traditional hottest period of summer.
Since the old days, people would eat hot meat dishes on these
days to boost their stamina. A typical food for sambok is
samgyetang, which is a stewed whole chicken stuffed with sticky
rice, ginseng, jujube and garlic, and seasoned with salt and
Chuseok- Korean Thanksgiving Day
Chuseok and Seollal are the two biggest holidays in Korea.
On Chuseok, people visit ancestral graves to thank their ancestors
for a good harvest and for the well being of their family.
Special foods for Chuseok are songpyeon (crescent-shaped rice
cakes) and torantang (taro soup). Songpyeon is a rice cake
hand-filled with any of various fillings made of bean, chestnut,
jujube or sweetened sesame seeds, and steamed with pine needles.
Along with newly picked fruits, these foods are presented
at the altar for the ancestral memorial service.
Dongji is the shortest day of the year. On the day of dongji,
Koreans eat patjuk, red bean porridge, with rice balls in
it. Since ancient times it was believed that red beans drive
away evil spirits and prevent bad luck.