Lunar New Years

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018.

I’ve lived in Korea for a long time. Nearly 10 years in fact all told. I’ve always been aware of the big holidays – of which there are two – Seolnal and Chuseok. Weirdly though, I’d never properly experienced one until this year.

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Iksan, February 2018. 

The week didn’t start off so good. The weather was about as bad as I’ve seen in Korea in Winter. Snowstorm after snowstorm. I’d even thought that maybe the holiday was going to be canceled.

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Iksan, February 2018. 

Not a good start to a holiday I’d been looking forward to for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I like the snow, I just don’t like it when it ruins my plans.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 
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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

Luckily, by Wednesday night the weather had cleared up. Still really cold though. We were going to Byeonsanbando to a resort. The point was to relax.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 
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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 
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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

So, basically these holidays as I now am aware contain mostly a lot of drinking. By a lot of drinking, I mean a lot of drinking. I didn’t even take out my camera the first night. I was scared to vomit on it.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 
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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

The main day of Seolnal involves the children of the family dressing traditionally and bowing to the elders. I actually thought this was quite lovely to watch. I don’t remember showing my grandparents that kind of respect. Ye-ji and Ye-nah here are pictured with their grandfather before the bowing starts.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 
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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

Here the girls just finished their bows. Since I was also partaking in the ceremony I didn’t take too many photos. I kind of wanted to experience it properly. Ye-ji, the younger sister seemed to have wanted a present instead of money. Ye-nah seems quite content with what she will one day realize is much better than some sweets or a toy.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

Lucky for her, her “scary” foreign uncle pulled through with some presents 😉

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

Everyone was pretty tired from the festivities the night before so we left early. I’ll maybe take more photos next year, I’m not sure. This year I enjoyed it for what it was and didn’t want it to be about me taking photos.

I think these experiences are better experienced first without a camera. I’m not sure I should have even taken one this time. I mostly took photos because I wanted to get some for my Pen-F review. That said, the family will be happy to have some prints from the Leica I’m sure.

February, 2018.

South Korea.

 

 

5 thoughts on “Lunar New Years

  1. A nice set of pictures doing what cameras should, recording for posterity and memory. I especially like the snow scene of the street, very evocative. The others are more personal, of course. Prompted by your write-up I just read up on those holiday traditions, fascinating and different.

  2. Yes, some moments are best enjoy with no lens between you and the moment. But it’s equally nice to freeze them on film. Especially when it’s freezing outdoors… 🙂
    I find it great that certain traditions survive the hypermodernity of Korea (and Japan, and I guess many other Asian countries) on other fronts. We have forgotten all of that in the West….

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