Sunday, January 25, 2009

Year of the Ox

Happy Lunar New Year! Korea celebrates Seollal* beginning today, and going on through Monday and Tuesday. Not all Asian countries celebrate Lunar New Year at the same time; I think China already had a head start on us Koreans.

It's the Year of the Ox (see here for a cute New Year's pic). The Ox represents, among other things, hard work, patience, and prosperity-- qualities and situations to which we all aspire in a time of economic difficulty, I think. While I don't subscribe to astrology, I do feel there's no harm in pondering the Ox's virtues in 2009.

So: Sae-hae bok manhi badeusaeyo! Happy New Year!

*Many write this as "Seol-nal," reflecting the Korean letters used, but not reflecting the actual pronunciation: this is the difference between transliteration (letters) and transcription (sounds).

In Korean, if a syllable ends with an "L" sound and the following syllable begins with an "N," the result is a "double-L" sound. This is often true if the situation is reversed, i.e., an "N + L" linkage instead of "L + N."


Han-la = Halla (a mountain's name)
gwan-li = gwalli (administration, management)
Shin-la = Shilla (a dynasty)



Charles said...

Lunar New Year is the same day everywhere--today (when I turned on the Beeb this morning they were wishing everyone a happy new year in Chinese). I think the reason it seems like China has a head start on Korea is because it takes everyone a week to travel to their home towns. So I guess the "holiday season" starts a little earlier, even though the holiday is the same.

They were showing a program on the news about people jamming themselves onto trains like sardines to travel for days. It was insane.

Kevin said...

The Peking Duck blog (on my sidebar) had a celebratory New Year's post up at least four days ago, which is why I mentioned the lack of synchrony in celebrations.

As for the sardine people... I agree it's insane, just as it is around Chuseok-time, and I'm glad my relatives are all in Seoul; the k'eun-jip is in Ch'ang-dong, which is, as you know, a Line 1 stop not far from Waedae-ap Station.

Side note: I received more proofing work from Waedae (a 12-pager this time), so all seems to be well.

Charles said...

Yeah, I think the Chinese do start a little bit early with the holiday sentiments, even if the holiday itself is the same.

As far as holiday travel goes, the farthest I have to venture is Sindorim, about an hour away. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

And I'm glad to hear about the Waedae work. I think your approach was the right one.