It was the first time I traveled abroad and have visited the town empty. If Jakarta suddenly empty on the day of Fitr, the capital of South Korea is experiencing the same thing at the time of the celebration of Seollal (or the local term for the Lunar New Year).
I should have started to feel the awkwardness the previous day. When driving around town, subway crowded with people carrying shopping bags or a large travel bag back and forth like a man.
The shops along Apkujeong also sell gift boxes to take home village. The content of the package is different from a Lebaran parcel in Indonesia. One of the rather amazing gift box containing meat and ginseng are packed so neatly.
I know that tomorrow is Chinese New Year, but do not know if the new year according to the calculation of the solar calendar is the second most important national holiday in Korea, after the Chuseok (Thank You Day / Thanksgiving Day). I also do not know if at that time Korean residents in big cities can return home, visit their oldest families and spending time with family.
If at Lebaran, we stay in touch with each other, greet one to apologize. At this Seollal, traditions Koreans usually pay homage to the grandfather or grandmother by bending the upper body on the floor at once pronounce greeting the New Year.
At the time of day of Chinese New Year, I just realized today why everybody looks like a hurry at the train station. Apparently, they wanted to get home. Lunar morning it was, the train station was deserted. My train car is empty. I am only one. Samsoeng train station is located under the largest mall Seoul, Coex. Samsoeng road is still in the Kangnam area if such area in the golden triangle of Jakarta Jakarta (Brass, Sudirman & Thamrin) which is usually crowded with workers passing by. Now the area was deserted. I felt like I was exploring a ghost town.
I was immediately biting the finger because it intends to spend time at the Coex. I decided to rest in the hotel lobby is located in one building with Coex. From the description of the hotel staff, I was advised to go some place that can sense these Chinese New Year celebrations. If you intend to shop, there are no malls or shops are open, likewise cinema or cafes. Forthis Seollal celebrations, usually the government implement the bulk three-day holiday. Onthe day before and the day after as well.
Some suggested places to visit is Namsagol Hanok Village, Seoul Nori Madang and palaces had only the day before my visit, and Gyeongbukgung where I can enjoy a concertfeaturing fusion gukak Samulnori (traditional percussion music).
Jokingly, the hotel staff said if I visit these places by using a hanbok (traditional Korean clothing), then I will not cost you anything. Hearing this, I just grinned, weather outside around 10 degrees Celsius. Using a super thick coat, I still feel cold. I wonder what would happen if I just use a hanbok around town for free.
I finally decided to visit Namsagol Hanok Village and Seoul Nori Madang. In Namsagol this Village, there are many activities take place. Among other kite making Korean style, calligraphy writing, and learning correct bowing in homage to the elders ceremony.
I chose to learn Sebae, bending the right way to honor parents. I think everyone knows there is a chance I did something like this sometime.
Oh yes, I also had the opportunity to try tteokguk, rice cake soup, which is a typical food during Chinese New Year.
After that, I went to Seoul Nori Madang to enjoy performances of traditional dances and their music. I am curious to see the show directly that I usually see only through saeguk drama (drama with an ancient setting) on television or movies. In addition, I enjoy their clothes are colorful.
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