Friday, February 10, 2006

Daeborum: Korean Traditional Holiday

On Sunday, (Monday February 13 in North American time zones) Koreans celebrate a special traditional holiday commonly called Daeborum, Actually called Jongwol Daeborum, it has been observed for over 1,000 years.

Jongwol Daeborum is the first full moon of the new lunar year.

In the past, it was thought that because the moon was full, it was a day for driving away misfortune and evil. Thus, the foods eaten and the games played on this traditional holiday have had a hidden purpose of expelling misfortune and evil.

Jongwol means the first of the month and Dae means big in Korean. Borum means round moon or full moon. (It’s pronounced as its spelled… “dae borum”).

While Lunar New Year’s Day is a family-oriented day, in contrast, Jongwol Daeborum is communal. That means Koreans traditionally started a lunar year with their family and 15 days later celebrate the full moon at a community level. Jongwol Daeborum, then, is a day filled with folk games, customs, and rituals.

Nowadays, the celebration is not nearly as significant as the Fall Harvest Holiday (Chuseok) or the Lunar New Years (Seol) nevertheless in Korea most cultural centers have special events. In fact, my friends who live in Seoul enjoy the festival each year with their children and neighbors.

In North Americam workplace, you may want to wish your Korean colleagues a happy Daeborum on Monday (or this Friday as you finish up the workday)…I’m sure they will be pleased.

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