Lunar January 15 (Feb. 26), a Folk Holiday

Lunar January 15 is a folk holiday of Koreans celebrated from olden times.

Researcher Kim Kyong Il at the Folklore Institute under the State Academy of Sciences says:

“According to the Korean ancient history book ‘A Collection of Major Calendrical Events of the Year in Korea’, the lunar January 15 was celebrated as a holiday. The Korean ancestors celebrated it from the day before lunar January 15. They called the lunar January 14 ‘small holiday” and the lunar January 15 ‘big holiday’. On the lunar January 15, the Koreans would hold various ceremonies reflecting their simple desire for good luck and bumper harvest in the new year. We can take the ‘erecting of stack poles’ as an example. Every house hung various grain ears such as rice, millet and foxtail millet at a pole and put it in the yard. What was conspicuous on the holiday in particular was to enjoy the first full moon.”

The festive foods on the lunar January 15 were a dish of five grains, sweet rice dish, dishes with nine dried herbs, taffy and laver-wrapped rice.

Folk games including yut game and Korean chess increased the festive mood. Tug of war and children’s kiteflying won popularity.

The custom of celebrating the lunar January 15 with a long history is still being carried forward and developed, adding to the national flavour.

The lunar January 15 this year falls on February 26.

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