This weekend marked the celebration of 설날 (seollal), the Korean Lunar New Year. Traditionally, Koreans spend the holiday with their families, travelling back to their hometowns to spend time cooking, eating, playing games, and paying respect to their elders. 한복 (hanboks) are occasionally worn, 떡국 (tteokguk) (a rice cake soup) is always eaten, and money is given to younger family members. It is considered to be one of the most– if not the most– important holidays in Korea. To celebrate, my boss gave all of us gift-boxes of 김(seaweed) and canola oil.
My 3-day holiday was markedly different from how it is traditionally celebrated. I started the weekend off with a much-needed Friday night trip to the local 찜질방 (jjimjilbang), the Korean version of a public bathhouse. Beers and massage chairs were a given; saunas, hot tubs, and a scrub-down followed. Talk about a great way to end a long work-week– I definitely wouldn’t mind making the 찜질방 my new Friday hang-out.
Saturday was spent in Seoul checking out parlors of a certain type (!!) before hitting up a Mexican restaurant in Itaewon. After indulging in one margarita and a veggie burrito, I found myself unable to pass up this bad boy:
Sunday was pretty lazy– half-hearted attempts at studying Korean with zaru soba for lunch followed with a self-indulgent “western” evening: veggie pizza, beer, and Tim Burton’s Betelgeuse. ^^
Monday wasn’t much better… ah, the elusive three-day weekend. After lounging in PJs with the dogs all day, more western food was had. This time, homemade vegetarian CHILI with a side of stout and Ghostbusters.
Ultimately, the three-day holiday was the perfect combination of self-indulgence and rest– just what I needed to get over this hellish cold that has been plaguing me for the past two months. Hope everyone had a nice 설날 holiday!