New Year's Greetings(歲拜)

New Year's Greetings

Headword

세배 ( 歲拜 , Sebae )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer ChoiInhak(崔仁鶴)

Sebae, (Kor. 세배, Chin. 歲拜, lit. [New] Year’s bows) is the Korean traditional New Year’s greeting of respect to one’s seniors (including parents). This consists of deep bows, in which a person kneels to the floor and extends his or her arms outward.

The New Year celebration in rural areas starts with a charye (Kor. 차례, Chin. 茶禮, lit. tea-offering ceremony (performed for the ancestors)), followed by the bows to the senior members of a family, and then a memorial service at the ancestral grave. The New Year’s greetings for other relatives and village elders take place after the memorial service and should be completed within the first five days of the new year. During the bowing, the supplicant usually says, "I hope that good fortune is bestowed upon you in the new year". In return, he or she receives deokdam (Kor. 덕담, Chin. 德談, wishes for good fortune in the new year).

If a family is in mourning, neighbors will visit to pay their respects to the deceased and offer New Year greetings to the mourners. According to tradition, however, the mourning family should not leave home to visit others for at least fifteen days after the funeral. New Year’s Eve is also celebrated with various farewell ceremonies, including the mugeun sebae (Kor. 묵은세배, Chin. 묵은歲拜, lit. old year’s bows).

People who visit their neighbors or relatives to offer them New Year’s greetings are warmly received with special festive foods (including tteokguk, or rice cake soup) and alcoholic drinks. A senior member’s reception of young visitors may include wishes for good fortune in the new year (deokdam) along with a gift of money called either sebaetdon (Kor. 세뱃돈, Chin. 歲拜-, lit. money for [new] year’s bows) or bokdon (Kor. 복돈, lit. money of fortune).

The tradition of exchanging wishes for good fortune with ceremonious bows is based on the belief that words have a magical power that can turn the wishes contained in them into reality. Accordingly, these wishes are typically expressed by a sentence in the past tense, as if to congratulate someone on the fulfillment of their wish.

New Year's Greetings

New Year's Greetings
Headword

세배 ( 歲拜 , Sebae )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer ChoiInhak(崔仁鶴)

Sebae, (Kor. 세배, Chin. 歲拜, lit. [New] Year’s bows) is the Korean traditional New Year’s greeting of respect to one’s seniors (including parents). This consists of deep bows, in which a person kneels to the floor and extends his or her arms outward.

The New Year celebration in rural areas starts with a charye (Kor. 차례, Chin. 茶禮, lit. tea-offering ceremony (performed for the ancestors)), followed by the bows to the senior members of a family, and then a memorial service at the ancestral grave. The New Year’s greetings for other relatives and village elders take place after the memorial service and should be completed within the first five days of the new year. During the bowing, the supplicant usually says, "I hope that good fortune is bestowed upon you in the new year". In return, he or she receives deokdam (Kor. 덕담, Chin. 德談, wishes for good fortune in the new year).

If a family is in mourning, neighbors will visit to pay their respects to the deceased and offer New Year greetings to the mourners. According to tradition, however, the mourning family should not leave home to visit others for at least fifteen days after the funeral. New Year’s Eve is also celebrated with various farewell ceremonies, including the mugeun sebae (Kor. 묵은세배, Chin. 묵은歲拜, lit. old year’s bows).

People who visit their neighbors or relatives to offer them New Year’s greetings are warmly received with special festive foods (including tteokguk, or rice cake soup) and alcoholic drinks. A senior member’s reception of young visitors may include wishes for good fortune in the new year (deokdam) along with a gift of money called either sebaetdon (Kor. 세뱃돈, Chin. 歲拜-, lit. money for [new] year’s bows) or bokdon (Kor. 복돈, lit. money of fortune).

The tradition of exchanging wishes for good fortune with ceremonious bows is based on the belief that words have a magical power that can turn the wishes contained in them into reality. Accordingly, these wishes are typically expressed by a sentence in the past tense, as if to congratulate someone on the fulfillment of their wish.