Daeboreum is the Korean celebration of the first full moon of the Lunar New Year and is one of the biggest traditional holidays celebrated across Korea. A long time ago, the people of Korea played a traditional game called Geuybulnori the night before the festival. They burned the dry grass on the ridges between rice fields. Children whirled around cans full of holes, through which charcoal fire blazed. This got rid of harmful worms that destroyed the new crops.
The tradition has been handed down through the ages, and during Daeboruem, large bonfires blaze throughout the country, even in fully-urbanized cities. In the countryside, people climb up mountains, weathering cold weather and storms, trying to catch a glimpse of the first rise of the moon. It is said that the person to spot the first rise before anyone else, will have good luck for the rest of the year.
Staying true to Asian culture, the Koreans eat a variety of dishes on Daeboreum. Among these dishes is Ogokbap, a five-grain rice consisting of rice, millet, Indian millet, beans, and red beans, which is eaten with various dried herbs. Another one of the special foods of Daeboreum is Yaksik. This delicacy is made of glutinous rice, chestnuts, pine nuts, honey, sauce, and sesame oil. Injolmi is a kind of rice cake made by beating steamed glutinous rice until it is sticky, cutting it into square pieces and covering it with bean flour.
Although most of the traditional practices have faded over time, some Koreans still hold on to their cultural heritage by celebrating Daeboreum the way it was celebrated all those years ago. Events are held across the country where tall columns of fire rise about the metropolis, as people watch on, eating Ogokbap, and hoping for good luck in their lives.
A tradition of drinking cheongju – a cold, clear, strained rice wine – to wish for good news all year round.
Bureom are nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, and gingko nuts. A common tradition of Daeboreum is to crack a nut in your mouth early in the morning. This is believed to help strengthen teeth and avoid allergies in the coming year.
Daljip is a heap of straw or twigs. Burning daljip is a tradition intended to ward off misfortune and bring good luck.
Jwibullori is a tradition of burning grass and weeds on dry fields after sunset, in order to kill insect eggs and to fertilize the fields with ashes. The flames lighting up the night sky also make for a spectacular sight to behold.
Deowipalgi literally means “selling of heat.” This fun tradition involves visiting a friend or family member and calling his or her name before sunrise. If they respond, they are then told, “Buy my heat!”. The buyer is then responsible for absorbing all the heat the seller would have otherwise received in the coming summer.
Ogokbap is steamed rice made with five grains (rice, Italian millet, sorghum, red beans, beans, etc). The rice is eaten with various wild vegetables and is shared on the eve of Daeboreum as it is believed to bring good luck.
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