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Learn how to say Happy New Year in Korean and be ready to show off your Korean skills during the Korean new years!
Before we dive deep into how to say Happy New Year in Korean, I’d like to first cover the most basic question: When do Koreans celebrate the New Year?
In modern day Korea, we acknowledge both the Solar New Year as well as the Lunar New Year. But the way that they are celebrated are culturally different. I’ll briefly explain the biggest differences between the two New Year days in order to better illustrate the various ways to say Happy New Year in Korean.
BONUS FREEBIE!!!: Scroll down to learn how to access the Happy New Year in Korean printable notecard!
SOLAR NEW YEAR (GREGORIAN CALENDAR NEW YEAR)
The most widely used calendar around the globe is the Solar calendar. The Solar New Year is basically the same as the Gregorian calendar, which is on January 1st every year and does not change. (To learn the science behind the differences between the Solar New Year and Gregorian calendar, check out this article). In other words, according to the Gregorian calendar, each year has 12 months of 28-31 days. The months start from January 1st to December 31st.
In Korea, the Solar New Year’s day is called: Yangnyeok Seolla (양력 설날; 陽曆); or otherwise formally known as: Sinjeong (신정; 新正)
Sinjeong is celebrated similarly to how many countries celebrate the new year. Typically, it is common to see countries that celebrate New Year’s Day on the Gregorian calendar countdown the hours, minutes, and seconds until the official change to the New Year.
Additionally, many Koreans adopted some of the foods eaten on the Lunar New Year such as rice cake soup (Tteokguk) and various vegetable side dishes (namul banchan) but it is not as grand as the actual Lunar Chinese New Year.
LUNAR NEW YEAR (CHINESE CALENDAR NEW YEAR)
Influenced by Chinese culture, the Lunar New Year is widely celebrated in many East Asian countries, especially Korea. Each year the Lunar New Year lands on a different day early in the year because it follows the cycle of the new moon. In short, the Lunar New Year is calculated using the seasons and the first new moon closest to the spring (SOURCE).
The lunar new year in Korean is: Eumnyeok Seollal (음력 설날; 陰曆); or otherwise formally known as: Gujeong (구정; 舊正)
Korean New Year VS Chinese New Year
There is no difference on when the Lunar New Year is celebrated between Korea and China. Rather, what and how you observe the new year celebrations differ based on each respective culture.
During Lunar New Year’s Day, Koreans observe this holiday over the course of 3 days, where the official Korean happy new year date is always the second day. Many cultural traditions are observed during this time where you eat a plethora of traditional New Year’s Day Korean food. If you would like to learn how to make Korean traditional New Year’s Day food, please let me know in the comments below!
Another huge cultural point in Korea is how age is calculated. Rather than turning a year older on your birth date, everyone turns a year older on the Lunar New Year. That doesn’t mean your actual birthday is not celebrated; rather, it is tradition to add a year to your age representing that this is the year you are turning one year older.
For example, if your birthday is in July and is expected to turn 29 (according to the Gregorian calendar), you will turn 30 on New Year’s Day (according to the Lunar calendar).
WHAT IS HAPPY NEW YEAR IN KOREAN
Now that we covered the two different ways Koreans celebrate New Year’s Day, let’s learn how to say happy new year in Korean. By default, I’ll also be able to answer the question, “how do you write happy new year in Korean?”
The Korean language has a few layers of honorifics when it comes to communication. Oversimplified, I will cover 3 layers of honorific conjugations on how to say happy new year in Korean.
Whether you wish someone a happy new year in the Gregorian calendar or the Lunar calendar, saying happy lunar new year in Korean is used interchangeably on both days.
The first is formal, which is used to wish elders and those that you would like to present the highest honor.
The second is polite but slightly less formal. This is a more common and standard way to say Korean new year greetings.
Lastly, the third is very casual and mostly used amongst close friends and family who are closer in age (or younger than you).
The Most Formal Way To Say Korean Happy New Year:
새해 복 많이 받으십시오 (saehae bog manh-i bad-eusibsio)
I’ll break down the literal translation of each word so that it is easier to understand what you are saying.
새해 (saehae): new year
복 (bog): luck/fortune/happiness
많이 (manh-i): a lot of
받으십시오 (bad-eusibsio): receive
Put it all together and it translates to: “I wish you lots of happiness this new year!” Or “Happy New Year!”
Informal But Still Very Polite Way To Say Happy Korean New Year:
새해 복 많이 받으세요 (saehae bog manh-i badeuseyo)
The main difference in this statement is the word, “받으세요” (badeuseyo), which essentially makes the phrase a little less formal. The meaning is exactly the same.
How To Say Happy New Year In Korean Casual:
새해 복 많이 받아 (saehae bog manh-i bad-a)
Again the differentiating factor in this statement is the ending honorific conjugation, “받아” (bad-a).
Other New Year Greetings In Korean
Much like how we can spread well wishes in several different ways when we enter the new year, here are a few other ways to greet someone in Korean new year wishes.
행복한 새해 되세요 (haengboghan saehae doeseyo): Have a happy new year
행복한 (haengboghan): happy (adjective)
새해 (saehae): new year
되세요 (doeseyo): to have
내년에 뵙겠습니다 (naenyeon-e boebgessseubnida): See you next year
내년에 (naenyeon-e): next year
뵙겠습니다 (boebgessseubnida): next year
건강하세요 (geon gang haseyo): take care of yourself
건강 (geon gang): health
하세요 (haseyo): do
형통하세요 (hyeongtong haseyo): prosper
형통 (hyeongtong): prosper
하세요 (haseyo): do
해피 설날 (happy seollal): Happy New Year
해피 (happy): happy
설날 (Seollal): new year
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS IN KOREAN
Learning Korean culture through Korean words is a beautiful way to start a list of new year’s resolutions. To help you get started, here are the most common English resolutions translated into Korean phrases.
새해결심 (saehae gyeolsim): new year resolution
새해소원 (saehae sowon): new year wish
체육관에 더 많이 가기 (cheyuggwan-e deo manh-i gagi): go to the gym more
가족과 더 많은 시간 갖기 (gajoggwa deo manh-eun sigan gajgi): spend more time with family
믿음으로 더 많이 기도 하기 (mid-eum-eulo deo manh-i gido hagi): pray more in faith
살 빼기 (sal ppaegi): diet
새로운 것 배우기 (saeloun geos baeugi): learn new things
책을 더 읽기 (chaeg-eul deo ilg-gi): read more books
새로운 곳을 여행 하기 (saeloun gos-eul yeohaeng hagi): to travel to new places
한국어 더 공부하기 (hangug-eo deo gongbuhagi): to study more Korean
한국 요리 더 배우기 (hangug yoli deo baeugi): Learn more Korean cuisine
Personally, my new year’s resolutions are simple:
- Raise a healthy and happy family
- Deepen my relationship with God
- Become the best Korean-American blogger 😉 hehehe
If you want to learn other words in Korean such as, “Funny Quotes in Korean,” or “How do you say Happy Birthday in Korean,” or even “Day’s in Korean,” please let me know in the comment section. I love sharing my recipes on KOREAN FOOD, but also love sharing fun facts and lessons about Korean culture.
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I hope this inspires you to celebrate a happy lunar new year Korean style!
새해 복 많이 받으세요!!!