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Korean New Years

            Ritual, Acculturation, Nuclear Family.
             Culture, tradition, family gathering, all these terms are useful in describing one of the most important, if not the most important, celebrations for the Korean community, New Years. Many Koreans have assimilated into the American community, yet retain traditions of their past. A perfect example is Jason, a Korean-American student who is well assimilated into American culture, but does not lose sight of the culture he was brought up with. Many Koreans in America celebrate two New Years, both with equal gusto. American tradition has it to celebrate New Years on January 01, while Koreans use the Lunar calendar and celebrate their New Year sometime near the end of January and the beginning of February. The official Korean term for this celebration is Seollal. This day is important for Koreans in America, because it gives them an opportunity to meet as a community and celebrate traditions and customs they are not usually able to exercise commonly in American society. However, more and more children have a growing generation gap and do not realize the importance of retaining one's culture, and instead attend for the lavish presents, rather than the cultural importance of the event. .
             Jason attends this celebration annually and every year there is stress placed on family importance. To reinforce this belief he is asked to say a special bow to his parent's which translated to English means, "Make a lot of blessings this year." This is followed by the tradition of receiving monetary gifts from his parents, his uncles and many other relatives. For the youth this of course is the most enjoyable part of the celebration as they earn more from this day than they generally do on a birthday. The message this is supposed to send the kids is that is that parents are the most important part of your life and if you respect them, good will always be blessed on you.

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