“Saesipungsok” refers to four annual Korean traditions that are practiced during each of the four seasons. In the spirit of living in harmony with nature, a respect for nature is reflected in the various rituals and ceremonies that embody each tradition. Saesipungsok encapsulates the ceremonial aspects of preparing for the coming year as well as the learning of an appreciation of nature and one’s ancestors.
1. Sulnal (Lunar New Year)
A traditional Korean celebration of the New Year (according to the lunar calendar) that wishes for a prosperous, healthy, and successful year and thanks the ancestors for their blessings. Because of this, it is natural and expected for Koreans to exchange greetings in the most polite way to their fellow elders, parents, and grandparents. “Saebae” refers to the act of showing deference towards elders by bowing to them. In return, children are repaid for their respect with money. In our Sulnal workship, our students will be taught how to make a lucky pouch that is used traditionally to hold the money received through saebae.
2. Dano (Spring/Summer)
Koreans traditionally celebrate the summer with the Dano festival as a way of collectively setting high hopes for the upcoming year’s successful harvest. Of course, the festival also serves to officially welcome the onset of summer. In the vein of wishing for a comfortable summer, decorated fans are popularly exchanged as gifts during this time. In our Dano workship, students will have the opportunity to decorate these fans with drawings of flowers and trees.
3. Chuseok (Fall Harvest)
In Korea, Chuseok is the second largest holiday that is nationally observed following New Year’s. Chuseok is also referred to the “Moon Festival” in most Asian countries. On August 15th (according to the lunar calendar) Koreans commemorate and express their gratitude towards their ancestors by sharing the year’s harvest. During the Chuseok, in a fashion similar to Thanksgiving, family members across the country return home to gather with their relatives, where they hold a memorial service that honors their ancestors. During this season, the fruits of an abundant grain and fruit harvest adorn the holiday table. In our Chuseok workshop, students will learn how to make a special rice treat called “songpyeon”, which is served in Chuseok along with Korean green tea.
4. Dongji (Winter Solstice)
Traditionally, Dongji is the day winter truly begins. They say that on the day of Dongji, the cold temperature and Ying energy makes this night the longest of the year. In celebration of Dongi, Koreans hold a tradition of eating “patjuk” (sweet red bean porridge) which is said to drive evil spirits away. In our Dongji workship, students will learn how to make patjuk, which is served with winter kimchi.