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What New Year’s Day Looks Like

New Year’s Day in the Oh Family is very, very traditional.  Korean from beginning to end with the exception of football.  We start off by changing into our traditional clothes called “hanbok” and head on over to Grandma Grandpa’s house.  Don’t you love how Charlotte has her knee high socks underneath her dress, it looks so funny to me, haha.  She was so worried about her dress getting wrinkled by the seat belt that it took her forever to put the belt on.

I decided to add a few photos of me in this post, I don’t know why.  I must be tired.  Bridgette took this photo with her point and shoot and I was practicing bowing the proper way.  It’s so uncomfortable, you’re supposed to sit Indian style, kind of, but then you curve your toes and cross them, I think…  I still don’t know how to do it, but since the dresses are long, you can fake it.  Do you know what else I don’t know how to do?  I don’t know how to tie the “otkorum” or ribbon on my top.  It is only supposed to have one loop and I was even watching this youtube video, but gave up.  You know you did it wrong because the ends are supposed to be the same length when you’re done, but mine weren’t, so even after bearing three children, I had my mother-in-law tie it for me.  How lame am I?  Haha… Why Koreans can’t tie it with two loops like the rest of the world is beyond me.  To the right is my husband and his father.

You start the day by bowing to your elders and the people who are the oldest start first.  You say “Have many blessings in the New Year” and the elders proceed to give you MONEY!!  Korean children don’t get sad when Christmas is over because they know in a couple of weeks, they’ll get  a bag full of coins and bills.

Then you listen to words of wisdom that the elders have to say to you.

Oh, how exciting is it for the little children to get their money.  They even have special money pouches that they use on this day.  Koreans rush to the bank the week before New Year’s to make sure they have crisp dollar bills or two dollar bills or half dollar coins, it makes it even more special.  My in-laws are no exception, they had their half dollar coins ready to go.  You should see the eyes of the children when they see these coins, it’s still so fun to watch!!

The menu is the same for all Koreans on this day:  Dduk gook or rice dumpling soup.  It just would not be New Year’s without this on the table.  Click here for the recipe, if you’d like.

Finally, it’s game time.  We always play a board game called “YOOT”.  You throw these four sticks and go around the board to try to reach home.  Ok, that was a lame explanation, click here for one that makes more sense.  I tell you though, the way my father-in-law all throws the sticks in this sideways motion cracked me up so hard that I could not stop laughing.  This is a SERIOUS game for this family, haha.

And that, my friends, is what New Year’s Day Looks like.  I can’t wait to see what my friend Christy Williams in Florida has for the month of January.  I never tire of looking at her photos, I mean she makes her instagram photos look like art.


On a totally different note, I am having a fun giveaway this week, click here for more info.

Happy Monday!


“What _____ Looks Like” Lifestyle Challenge (month 6) » Brenda Acuncius Photography Blog - [...] to you all “What The Dallas Zoo Looks Like.” And make sure you head over to the blog of Gina Oh | Arroyo Grande, CA Photographer and see what her challenge project looks like for month [...]

jennifer N - Glad you shared all the pics. You guys have a lot of the same traditions but have cuter dresses and possibly better games, but hey we all get the money. ha ha. so fun.

Renee P - It’s always so interesting to see different cultures, YOOT looks like so much fun!

Becky Earl - SO cool! Love them!

crave photography - Gina, you have the most beautiful traditions! Your children are going to cherish these photos so much. PLUS, I always love your B&W’s. So fantastic!

Wendy - Gina, I learned so much! I didn’t know anything at all about Chinese New Year. And how cute are you? My kids would be all over bags of money. :)

Christy - Gina, I love reading your stories and learning about your culture. So beautiful!! That series with the sticks, Amaaaazing!!!!

Stephanie Moore {Tucson AZ Photographer} - Gina your posts are so awesome, I love reading about your culture. And your shots make me feel like I am there, fabulous job!

jules - your children are so lucky to grow up with a childhood so richly filled with their korean heritage! i love that each of these special traditions are getting passed down to them in this wonderful way. you look awesome in your traditional outfit. miss you! xoxo

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