Since Korea will be celebrating Lunar New Year later this week, don’t expect to go to Costco for a normal visit this Thursday, because all Costco Korea locations are CLOSED for Lunar New Year’s Day or Seollal (February 19, 2015). However, Costco Korea locations will be open on Wednesday 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. All Costco Korea locations will resume normal business hours on February 20, 2015. Also, don’t forget that there is currently a Lunar New Year coupon book (it runs through March 8, 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: February 18 – 20, 2015)
Seollal marks the first month by the lunar calendar. Korean New Year is typically a family holiday. The three-day holiday is used by many to return to their hometowns to visit their parents and other relatives. 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). Many Koreans dress up in colorful traditional Korean clothing called hanbok. Though nowadays, small families tend to become less formal and wear other formal clothing instead of hanbok.
Another custom observed is the lighting of a “moon house” built out of burnable firewood and branches. This symbolizes the warding off of bad/evil spirits for the new year. Many also choose to add wishes they want come true in the next year to the moon house.
In Korea, 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.
Costco Korea Lunar New Year Hours:
- February 18, 2015: All locations closing early at 7 pm.
- February 19, 2015: All locations CLOSED for Lunar New Year.
- February 20, 2015: All locations resume normal operating hours.