Koreans take a day to celebrate the moon
Amy Judd | February 20, 2008 at 03:17 pmby
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``Jeongwol Daeboreum,'' or Great Full Moon, is a Korean traditional holiday that celebrates the first full moon of the new year according to the lunar calendar.
``Jeongwol'' means first month and ``Daeboreum'' means big full moon. It comes around every fifteenth of the first lunar calendar month. This year, the day falls on Thursday.
Koreans traditionally crack nuts with their teeth, hoping this practice will help keep one's teeth healthy for the year.
Also, people climb mountains to see the first rise of the moon in belief that the first person to see the moon rise will have a good luck throughout the year.
Traditionally, Korean people played a game called ``jwibulnori'' the night before Jeongwol Daeboreum, during which they burned the dry grass on the ridges between rice fields and children whirled around cans full of holes, through which charcoal fire blazed.
Many people believe that these cans fertilize the fields and eradicate harmful worms to protect the new crops.
Also, Koreans have ``ogokbap,'' rice mixed with five different types of grain ― rice, black beans, millet, red beans and kidney beans, along with various seasoned dried herbs.
There is an interesting practice of greeting a friend with the phrase ``Nae deowi sara,'' which means ``buy my heat.''
Many people believe that if you say this to your friend before he or she does it, you will suffer from the heat less, as Korean summers bring a scorching heat.
Many celebrations are taking place around the country to celebrate this new beginning to the year, many of them based on traditional folklore and dances.
In celebration of the lunar calendar's 15th day of the first month, the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts holds a special performance of ``Sandaehui,'' or the Sandae Festival.
``Sandaehui'' represents three legendary spiritual mountains where different kinds of music, dances, and plays were performed.
Introduced from China, but localized throughout history, the performance was held to pray for peaceful reign and prosperity of the nation.
The festival includes court dances of ``Cranes and Lotus Flower Dance,'' ``Peach Offering Dance,'' ``Lion Dance'' and traditional acrobatics, ``One Hundred Animals Dance,'' ``Women's Circle Dance Ganggangsullae,'' and a variety of traditional dances and plays at Yeakdang Hall and an outdoor stage under the moonlight.
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