Sunday, January 25, 2009

설날 전날

The Namsangol Hanok Village (남산골 한옥마을) is holding a 3-day Seollal Festival from Lunar New Year's Eve until the 2nd day of Lunar New Year. This afternoon, while I was on my way there, it snowed for quite a while. It seems like every cold wave always ends with snow. As such, today weather is not as cold as the last two days.

The Namsangol Hanok Village is listed as the top of must-visit place this Seollal. The event is publicised as 기축년 운수대통 설날큰잔치. After studying Korean for some time, I have come to equate 잔치 with a joyous occasion although I have not been to one before. Anyway, the festive mood of Seollal is a lot milder. I don't really feel that Lunar New Year is tomorrow.

Snow-covered roof at Namsangol Hanok Village

Lanterns all up for the Seollal big feast

It's the Ox Year and let's hope it will be an extremely good year

Korean lanterns hung up in a garden

A low-hanging lantern partially covered in snow

Like any other festival, there are performances to watch, food to eat, games to play, things to watch and do and most importantly, there is provision for people to make wishes. I wonder is it a Korean thing but Koreans do seem to like making wishes and have their fortune read. Even Yunnori (윷놀이) can be used to tell one's fortune. To know your fortune, you need to throw the Yunnori sticks 3 times. Once you have 3 outcomes, you can then read off your fortune from a board which has all the combinations and their corresponding fortunes. Anyway, here are more things which I saw at the festival. Though this festival is nothing near the scale which I have come to associate with Lunar New Year festival, it is still worth a visit since I have nothing better to do here. Actually, my classmate asked me out for drinking but I am "anti-social" you know. I will choose sightseeing over drinking anytime.

I still can't figure out how to throw the arrow into the container for Tuho

There are traditional performances everyday and for today its percussion

Wishes are written on coloured paper. All the colourful "ribbons" which you see above have people wishes written in them. There are 12 ropes that correspond to the 12 "Ddi". Wishers are supposed to tie their wishes to the rope that represents their "Ddi".

Traditional fare for sale at the food fair

Unfiltered rice wine, 막걸리, is also on sale

This is the tool for popping the corn. The air-tight container containing the corns, is turned automatically by a motor and is heated up by a flame. Once the time is right, the built up pressure in the container is released with a '뻥' and the popcorn are collected into the cage and yellow net.

The popcorn is sold at 2,000won per bag. I bought one. The popcorn smell nice but tasteless. I am more used to sweet popcorn.

To make the traditional sugar candy, 뽑기, white sugar is first melted to a brown sugary liquid over a small flame.

The brown sugary liquid quickly solidify into a soft paste once taken off flame. The paste is flattened by a press and star-shape or love-shape is then pressed onto it.

Chop for amulet printing. This chop is meant to print amulet that bless drivers with safe journey on road.

Another chop for amulet printing. This is meant for people who want to get rich and become wealthy.

Hanboks are available for wearing and photo-taking but the charge is 1,000won

Wishing everyone happiness and longevity

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