Almost time for Lunar New Year…

Lunar New Year is one of the two most important holidays in Korean culture (the other one is Chuseok 추석 – often referred to as the “Korean Thanksgiving”). In 2022, Lunar New Year is on February 1. As Lunar New Year approaches, let’s learn a few words and phrases related to this important holiday!

Lunar New Year = 설날 [seol-lal]* –> Pronunciation note: I know the second syllable starts with ㄴ, which is the ‘n’ sound, but due to Korean phonology (language sound) rules, the ‘ㄴ’ becomes canceled out by the preceding ‘ㄹ’ in ‘설’, making it sound like [설랄 seol-lal] instead of [seol-nal].

“Happy New Year” = since Korea observes the new year in the Lunar calendar, people say “Happy New Year” to each other again when Lunar New Year comes around. So be prepared to hear this phrase a lot and be ready to say it back to them. To say the phrase that is equivalent to “Happy New Year” in Korean is “새해 복 많이 받으세요”, which literally means “in the new year, receive a lot of luck”. [sae-hae bok mah-ni ba-deu-seh-yoh”.

Photo from – girls are wearing Hanbok, the Korean traditional dress, and playing the game of Yut (pronounced like “yoot”; written as ‘윷놀이’ in Korean), a traditional Korean game often played on major Korean holidays such as Lunar New Year.

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