Moon dictates agricultural cycle. Lunar calendar, therefore, was very important one in the past. Koreans still follow lunar calendar closely for celebration of the year. Ancestral ceremonies and birthdays in traditional family is celebrated according to Lunar calendar. New years day is not the new years day of western calendar. The real celebration begins with January of Korean lunar calendar, which usually falls around February in western calendar. In the past, the new year's day continued till the first full moon of the year.
This year, the first full moon of the New year, called Daeboreum (the word means great full moon) was yesterday. This is the official end of New Year’s celebration.
In the night, while you are greeting the new moon, fire is lit on the dried bank of rice field to prepare for the new rice season.
Food, like all other traditional Holiday, takes important place in this day.
‘Ogokbahp’ (Ogok: five types of grains and beans, bahp: steamed rice) and nine types of special ‘namool’ made from dried herbs and vegetables is made for the day. Depending on region, the rice and namools are rolled in kim, (dried seaweed, AKA nori) and offered as offering to the ancestors wishing for good harvest and good year.
I made it for the day, too. (It was one day after, to be exact, due to the dissertation committee meeting this morning.) Even though I only used three ingredients for rice and made only three ‘namool’s to go with, the effort and taste counts.
I showed off my skill to my Mother, Grandma, and aunties who all see me as a child even though I am adult. Their praise and sweet happy surprises gave me childlike pleasure: the kind of pleasure that a young child would feel when her parents clap and praise for the first drawing she did. I was proud and happy.
One warning! If you have Korean friend, don’t answer their call Daeboreum. They may sell you their Duwi (meaning heat of Summer, symbolizing misfortunes or illness for this year due to the heat of Summer), which you don’t clearly want. The line, “Nea Duwi Sala!” means you just bought my Duwi for the year. I got tricked several times, and resell my misfortune to the other. If you happen to be the last person to ‘buy’ all the heat of the summer, then your salvation is kite. My father told me to write down my name and let it float away with my misfortune.
NamoolsFrom the top, Kong namool (soy bean sprouts namool), Moo namool (white radish namool), and Kosari namool (bracken namool)
Kong Namool or Moo Namool
1 lb of soybean sprout or white Daikan radish, one teaspoon of sesame oil, half clove of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste
Kosari namool (dried Bracken namool)This is a typical example of labor and time consuming Korean food. But it is not that complicated.