If you are in Korea, don’t expect to be able to pay your local Costco a normal visit this Friday, because all Costco Korea locations are CLOSED for Lunar New Year’s Day or Seollal (January 31, 2014). However, Costco Korea will be open on Thursday in case you need to pick up some last minute items for family celebrations or gifts or just your regular shopping, but they will be closing early at 7 pm. Costco Korea locations will resume normal business hours on February 1, 2014. There is one exception to this, the location in Ilsan will remain closed on February 1 but resume normal hours on February 2, 2014. Also, don’t forget that there is currently a Lunar New Year coupon book (it runs through March 9, actually).
For those of you that are curious, here’s a little more information on how the Koreans celebrate Lunar New Year or Seollal from the Korea Tourism Organization or you can visit Wikipedia’s Korean New Year page to find out additional information, as well.
Seollal (Korean New Year’s Day on the first day of the first month by the lunar calendar: January 30-February 1, 2014)
Seollal marks the first month by the lunar calendar. In Korea, it is a tradition for families and relatives to get together to perform ancestral rites and perform a traditional bow called sebe to the elders of the family. On this day, people have a bowl of tteokguk (rice cake soup). Ages are calculated according to the lunar calendar, and it is believed that each person becomes a year older after eating tteokguk. The soup is eaten with hopes for purity and longevity (the rice cakes’ white color means purity, and the long shape of rice cake before it is cut symbolizes longevity).
새해 복 많이 받으세요 (sae hae bok mani bad eu se yo)!
That’s “please receive lots of good luck in the new year” for all of us who are a little less proficient in our Korean language skills. If you want to learn how to say it, check out this helpful TalkToMeInKorean.com video.