USC Digital Folklore Archives / Earth cycle
Earth cycle
Festival
Folk Dance
Kinesthetic
Musical
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Garba

My informant is a young Indian-American woman who is well-versed in the customs of her culture and frequently participates in these traditions. She told me about Garba, a traditional Indian dance.

Garba is a non-choreographed dance celebration usually performed during the festival of Navratri (based on the Hindi words for nine + nights). Garba is typically performed by North Indians and Gujaratis but is sometimes celebrated by Punjabis.

Garba usually celebrates the Hindu goddess Durga, who is considered to be the main mother of creation. It consists of two circles, one in the center of the other, with an idol inside the inner circle. The inner circle is supposed to represent the womb of the universe, while the circles represent time because the Hindu concept of time is cyclical due to reincarnation. The dancers are always switching dance partners, so they are constantly moving.

The traditional outfit worn during Garba is a chaniya choli: a top that sometimes has a vest or jacket, with a long skirt and a scarf. People come to this celebration dressed up in bright colors and the women wear lots of nice jewelry – essentially people choose to come dressed up and looking their best.

The version of this dance that my informant is familiar with is called Dandiya. In this dance, each dancer wields two wooden sticks roughly 2cm in diameter and 1.5ft in length. Sometimes these sticks are decorated but they are usually plain. Two people act as dance partners and hit each other’s sticks together: first one stick, then the other, then both, then they spin, and then move on to the next person. This is the basic movement, but people tend to improvise in fancier patterns so their partner has to keep up (my informant jokingly told me that this is why North Indians tend to be good dancers). This style of Garba (also known as dandiya-raas) is associated with Krishna. “Raas” means play/dance. This style is supposed to imitate a sword fight.

I am glad that my informant knows so much about the symbolism behind this dance, as it adds so much more depth and beauty to the understanding of this practice. I also find it interesting that there is a rendition that combines the idea of creation and the flow of time with battle.

Customs
Earth cycle
Festival
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Wren Day

Background Information:

Informant is 54-year-old woman living in Dublin, Ireland. She was raised in rural southern Ireland. This festival called Wren Day is celebrated on St. Stephen’s Day, December 26th. It is not a custom I have observed in Dublin, and seems to mainly be confined to rural areas, particularly in the south but it has also been seen in the Nordic countries. Wren in this tale is pronounced like “wran,” owing to the southern dialect. She learned of this festival from experiencing it, and she didn’t particularly enjoy it as she found the costumes scary. She is signified in this conversation by the initials C.D.

Main Piece:

C.D.: Wren Day is always celebrated on St. Stephen’s Day at home. It’s not so much a festival that everyone celebrates, rather there are a few people that celebrate it and try and drag the rest of us into it. It involves men, usually, dressing up in straw outfits and masks and parading through the town singing songs. Back home, they’d work their way around the mountain and would knock on your door and sing a song – sometimes it had words, and other times it was just sounds, like the Native American chants – and they’d expect a penny in return. I always thought they were terrifying, dressed up like giant haybales and shouting in the front garden. In the village there would be a kind of parade, where the marchers would hold up these long wooden poles with nets on the top, that was supposed to symbolize the catching of the wren. I think they used to actually catch a wren sometimes, but maybe that’s gone out of fashion over time.

A: Do you know what the wren symbolized?

C.D.: It was meant to symbolize the old year being put away and the new year coming in. You’d only find the wren in winter, so by caging it and putting control on it the people are sort of forcing in the spring, maybe like a Groundhog Day style thing?

A: And do you remember the kinds of songs they’d sing?

C.D.: Like I said, I was usually too scared of them to really listen to what they were saying, but when they’d come to the house they’d end their songs in “If you haven’t got a penny then a hapenny will do,/ If you haven’t got a hapenny then God bless you!” That’s usually when my mam would hand them a penny or two, as they wouldn’t go away until you gave it to them.

Performance Context:

This piece of folklore was related to me over the phone, as I am in California and she is in Ireland. I asked her about any festivals she had at home and she said that this was the strangest one she could think of that she actually experienced.

My Thoughts:

The wren is an interesting bird, as it is found in both the Catholic and Celtic traditions. In the Celtic tradition, the wren was a sacred bird that sang through the winter. In this sense, it symbolized enduring life through the harshest months. By sacrificing a wren at this time of year, the people ritualistically “killed” winter and ushered in the path for the spring birds. In the Christian tradition, the wren is thought to have betrayed St. Stephen, revealing his position whilst he hid from his enemies. This allowed for the tradition to endure through pre-Christian times until now, and explains the current dating of this festival to St. Stephen’s Day. This festival, then, projects the human and religious calendars onto the natural year cycle by eliminating winter and ushering in the Spring. Also, the idea that it is mostly men that participate in it speaks to the Catholic patriarchy in Ireland at the time that this tradition was prevalent.

Earth cycle
Festival
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Qing Ming Festival

Background of informant:

My informant LWQ is a 47 years old Chinese artist. She was born and lived in southern part of China, especially Nanjing for many years before she moved to the north, Beijing at age 36.

The conversation is in Chinese.

 

Main piece:

LWQ: “This is the day that we go to cemetery and pray to the ancestors. In total, there’re four day in a year that people pray to their ancestors, but each day has different name and each of them is different. In winder solstice, that day, it’s the first one. And April 4rth on the lunar Calendar, which is the one that is coming, is called QingMing Festival. Then is July half, also on the lunar Calendar, is the Festival of the Dead. And then is the New Year Eve day. These are the four. There are commons among these four days, that people burn those money made from paper, the money that is only efficient in the ghosts’ world, not our human world.”

SH: What kind of money?

LWQ: “We have a piece of paper in the shape of normal RMB, but the portrait of Mao is changed to the God in the ghost world on the paper. And also, there’re paper money in the shape of ancient Chinese copper coin, which a hole in the center. And also some in the shape of Chinese shoe-shaped gold.”

LWQ: “For the differences of the four days, I think… the most recent one, on April. 4th, we bring some green plants or flowers to the deceased family members tomb. That’s why QingMing festival is also called ‘Tomb-swiping Day’. We need to revitalize the ancestor’s tomb because spring is coming. [laugh] I remember when I was little, I followed my parents to ancestors’ tomb on the day QingMing Festival, and it’s a day to play and enjoy the warm weather for me and my other little friends. Now, I will go to my grandparents tomb on this year’s festival next week, and it is now to me a day to reunion with my family, because my brothers and my parents will be there too.”

 

Context of the performance:

My informant LWQ told me one day that she will travel back to her hometown recently because the QingMing Festival was coming. This conversation was done two weeks before the festival day.

 

My thoughts about the piece:

My informant said that the day of QingMing festival is an official holiday set by the government, so it’s a day off for everyone in China. Respecting to ancestor is always a major focus in Chinese traditional culture, and there’s a huge emphasis on family lineage and bounding between family members. However, this emphasis was neglected once around 1970s in China. Now, for the recent 20 years, the traditional focus on lineage is recollected and reemphasized. Since the festival is highlighted to the public as an official holiday, this is another example of how institution helps revitalize folklore.

Adulthood
Earth cycle
Festival
general
Life cycle
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Karva Chauth

My informant M is my 49-year-old mother. She follows many Hindu traditions and religious holidays even though she lives in America. She has found a community of friends who also celebrate many of the same traditions as well.

In this piece, my informant goes into great detail about the history of a one-day festival called Karva Chauth. She also explains her extensive experience celebrating the tradition with it to me (AK).

M: (Reading this from a website) Karva Chauth is a one-day festival celebrated by Hindu women in many countries in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. … The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon.

M: Well this is correct, I just fast until I can see the moon.

AK: Do you remember how long ago you started doing this?

M: I have done it ever since I was married because this tradition is for married women and done for their husbands.

AK: Can you tell me anything about how this tradition started or was created?

M: Sorry I don’t know the story that well. I can try though. It’s about a woman named Karva who was devoted to her husband. The husband was killed by a crocodile and after the wife threatened Yama, the God of Death … I think he sent the crocodile to hell and brought the husband back to life. That’s all if I remember it correctly.

AK: Wow, that’s a really great story.

I distinctly remember this tradition because I remember as a child I would love to help my mom look for the moon. Some years, if the sky was especially cloudy, it would be very difficult to locate the moon, and I remember feeling like it was my duty to seek out and find the moon.

Earth cycle
Folk Beliefs
general
Protection
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Guatemalan Eclipse Ritual

Note: The form of this submission includes the dialogue between the informant and I before the cutoff (as you’ll see if you scroll down), as well as my own thoughts and other notes on the piece after the cutoff. The italics within the dialogue between the informant and I (before the cutoff) is where and what kind of direction I offered the informant whilst collecting. 

Informant’s Background:

The informant was born and raised in Guatemala, but immigrated here to America when he was about seventeen. He has not and will probably never go back to Guatemala as he fears he will be killed.

Piece: 

When I saw my first eclipse… lunar, you know a moon eclipse? I heard… well first we moved to the country because my grandma was dying. I grew up in the city and when I moved into the farm, everything was new to me. So I remember when the moon eclipsed, everybody was there banging things- they were banging the ceiling of the house, they were banging drums, making noise, you know? Because they thought that it would be the end of the world. *laughs* I got so scared! *laughs* That night I couldn’t sleep. It was, it was kind of disturbing for me.

Were they trying to scare you?

I don’t know, maybe they were kind of, kind of ignorant you know? They thought that the moon was fighting with the sun. You know what I mean? And the sun was… it was like that. This is something that they’d think for years. They thought that the moon was fighting with the sun. So they were rooting for the moon and that is why they were making so much noise.

So they were cheering on the moon?

Yeah… it was weird. I don’t know if they still do that. They probably still do, or maybe not because you know… traditions sometimes die. It was in the 60s you know? The beginning of the 60s. I was very young.

Did they tell you to bang on things too?

They want me to. They want me to but I was like… scared. I was surprised you know cause I never saw one of those things. I mean I didn’t know that there was so much superstition in that… in that people’s heads. You know, I don’t know… there was dancing, they were looking at the moon. I was like… I don’t know. The only thing I remember I told my dad, “what happened?” And my dad just laughed. You know because my dad didn’t believe in all this stuff.

Piece Background Information:

Informant already expanded that he thinks that the people he witnessed partaking in this tradition were ignorant, and that he did not quite understand what was happening at the time.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Context of Performance:

In person, during the day at informant’s house in Calabasas, California.

Thoughts on Piece: 

I could tell while collecting that the informant (who is my boyfriend’s father) was and still is very disturbed by this experience, which reflects in the fact that he is disconnected from Guatemala. He was very young when he witnessed this and it adds to why to this day, when we go out to lunch, he is always saying that Guatemalans are very superstitious- it scared him to death because he literally thought the world was going to end. Upon further research, I found further expansions on this belief that one must cheer on the moon during an eclipse so that it does not die. Apparently, without the moon, it is thought that there will be lots of deaths within the community and the age range of the persons involved in these deaths (children to elders) depends on the size of the moon being eclipsed.

Customs
Earth cycle
Festival
Folk speech
general
Holidays
Homeopathic
Legends
Magic
Narrative
Proverbs
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Gujarati Proverb Common Around Diwali

Note: The form of this submission includes the dialogue between the informant and I before the cutoff (as you’ll see if you scroll down), as well as my own thoughts and other notes on the piece after the cutoff. The italics within the dialogue between the informant and I (before the cutoff) is where and what kind of direction I offered the informant whilst collecting. 

Informant’s Background:

I’m from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

Piece and Full Translation Scheme of Folk Speech:

Original Script: मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्

Transliteration: micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ

Translation: “May all the evil that has been done be fruitless” or “If I have offended you in way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word, or deed, then I seek your forgiveness”.

Piece Background Information:

One specific thing that’s very interesting- whenever we meet someone on our new year’s day, we say micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ”. It basically means, “forgive me for anything I’ve done wrong over the past year and I want to start over on a clean slate with you”. Our new year, I think, comes right after Diwali- this big festival of lights. So it (the new year) is the day after that because the whole thing about Diwali is that it’s the conquering of good over evil, based on an ancient story.

So the ancient story is about this lord, he was called Lord Rama. He was a king who was in exile and his wife Sita was taken away by this evil king named Ravanna. So he crossed what is now called the region, the sea crossing between India, the south tip of India, and the current Sri Lanka to go and get his wife back. And they had like a fourteen day war where they basically, the two sides were fighting, and it ended with Rama putting an arrow through Ravana’s chest to kill him. The festival of lights celebrates his return after exile, back to the capital city.

Basically, we are asking for forgiveness from the other person and we want to start the new year off with a clean slate.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Context of Performance:

In person, during the day, in Ronald Tutor Campus Center on USC’s campus in Los Angeles.

Thoughts on Piece: 

Through setting off fireworks, lanterns, and the like during Diwali, partakers in this tradition are recalling the celebrations that were believed to have taken place upon Rama and Sita’s return to their kingdom in northern India, after having been exiled and defeating King Ravanna. In this sense, Diwali can be seen as homeopathic magic as it is performed in order to bring about new beginnings/ wipe the slate clean through recalling the similar instance in which the slate was wiped clean for the once exiled Lord Rama. It also follows the Earth cycle as the celebration’s dates are dependent upon the Hindu lunar calendar.

For more information on Diwali, see Sims, Alexandra. “What is Diwali? When is the festival of lights?” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 09 Nov. 2015. Web. 28 Apr. 2017. <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/diwali-what-is-the-festival-of-lights-and-when-is-it-celebrated-a6720796.html>.

Customs
Earth cycle
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Ramadan and the Ritual Celebration of Eid Alfutr

Note: The form of this submission includes the dialogue between the informant and I before the cutoff (as you’ll see if you scroll down), as well as my own thoughts and other notes on the piece after the cutoff. The italics within the dialogue between the informant and I (before the cutoff) is where and what kind of direction I offered the informant whilst collecting. 

Informant’s Background:

I’m from Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia.

Piece:

Ramadan is like a whole month where everyone just, they fast from like very early in the morning ‘til like early in the evening. So from, from the sunrise to sunset basically. And they fast from like eating – they don’t eat anything, they don’t drink anything. And it’s a very like spiritual month where you just have like a lot of like, you know, religious tv shows and songs and stuff like that.

And then, after the month is over- the first day of the following month- it’s like Christmas in Christianity, So it’s like a big event where everybody is celebrating the end of the month and uh, I think it’s very interesting because every family basically like… wait you’re a vegetarian right? So this is not happiness for you. Every family has to kill a sheep, just like one sheep, and it has a spiritual meaning and it’s like a sacrifice you do to God to show that you’re grateful that the month is over, that you’re alive and doing well, and just thankful for that month.

And your family particularly partake in this?

All families do, and what they do is that they take the, okay it’s like one animal that’s killed. Most people do it at home, you bring the animal alive and kill it. Which is kind of… as kids, you would see that and were just kind of shocked (ha ha). It happens every year. Sometimes you’re allowed to buy the animal and take it to a butcher shop or something like that and they would of the you know, the rest of the work. Then the meat is divided into three portions- one third goes to family itself, another third to neighbors and relatives, and you know other people around the neighborhood, and the third portion goes to poor people, you know people who can’t buy an animal or can’t do that. So… yeah I think that’s the biggest celebration maybe.

When you guys take the meat, how do you package it? And do you have a physical hand in distributing the meat to poor people? 

It’s cut and put into bags, and like freezers and stuff like that. And I remember when I was a kid, my mom would give me like a bunch of bags and she would say “go to that neighbor” or “that house and knock on the door and give them this meat.” And then my dad would take the rest and he would go to like poor neighborhoods and distribute the meat to the poor people there. Nowadays, even butcher shops will do that- they will give the family their portion and do the rest of it- distribute it to the poor people so that you have a more convenient ways of doing it.

Piece Background Information:

Informant already mentioned within their piece that they learned and practice Ramadan, as well as the ritual celebration of Eid Alfutr, due to the influence of his culture, parents, family, and school.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Context of Performance:

In person, during the day, in the informant’s apartment adjacent to USC’s campus in Los Angeles.

Thoughts on Piece: 

Ramadan is celebrated in the ninth month of Islamic calendar, which sees each month’s beginning at the sighting of the full moon, thus making it an Earth cycle ritual. By fasting everyday from sunrise to sunset, Muslims and those partaking in this tradition are reminded of the suffering of the less fortunate in the world. This fasting emphasizes the Muslim ideal of strengthening their connection with Allah through exercising self control, thereby cleansing their minds, bodies, and spirits and also lends itself to this informant’s other accounts such as not believing in wearing a physical/tangible object for protection against the evil eye and instead focusing on the mind (see: The Evil/Bad Eye and Arab Folk Beliefs on Protection Against It).

I also found it interesting that the informant noted how the whole process of butchering the sacrifice and splitting up the portions of the meat has become a lot easier- butchers will handle not only the butchering, but the distribution as well. On the one hand, this probably gives more incentive to partake in the tradition each year, as it makes the ritual much simpler, but it is also important to note that it is as a result of modernity.

Earth cycle
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Full Moon Celebration

JT is a 40 year old Vietnamese woman who lives in Arcadia, California. She grew up in her home country and immigrated to the US as a teenager. Here is a Vietnamese tradition she remembers from her childhood:

“The Vietnamese have certain holidays that are, in some ways, like the Jewish tradition of Passover, were we don’t eat certain foods and eat others that are special to that holiday. One of the most important celebrations is the Full Moon. I was very young, but I remember that during the full moon, we would go to the Buddhist temple, where there would be tables and tables of vegetarian food- we didn’t eat meat during this time.

Who was usually cooking that food?

They didn’t always cook it there. You could have vegetarian foods from restaurants- during that time, every restaraunt will have the vegetarian dishes. It’s becoming more common now for restaurants in Vietnam to have vegetarian dishes all the time, too.

Do you know why you celebrated the full moon?

I remember that it wasn’t every full moon- some full moons were more special than the others. We used a lunar calendar, not like the American Calendar- it’s the Chinese version. The full moon of the “month of 7″, for example, was very significant. But the biggest one was the full moon of January- this is called Tet Nguyen Tieu- was the most important because it was the first full moon of the New Year. Everyone would go to temple then and pray for good luck in the New Year.

Is this something you still celebrate?

I usually do, but it’s inconvenient- we do it in our own way, buying more fruits and vegetables instead of eating meats around the full moon. We do it at home. Most Buddhist families we know do this too.

 

My thoughts: This piece is interesting because it shows how a Chinese tradition like the lunar calendar has spread to other parts of Asia as well were the festival changes to reflect that particular culture. This piece also shows that many different cultures have similar beliefs when it comes to the concept of the New Year, such as wishing for good luck in the year to come. This may imply that Vietnam is a future-oriented culture- the informant also told me that Vietnam has been ranked the most optimistic country in the world!

The informant noted that each Buddhist family havstheir “own way” of celebrating the full moon. If it’s inconvenient to go to an official celebration at a temple or to go to a Vietnamese restaurant, the family will alter their eating patterns at home. This shows how each family incorporates their own family folk customs with official religion as well.

 

Earth cycle
Folk Beliefs

Cherokee Creation Story

Cherokee Creation Story

 

Informant:

Richard Spicer. Richard “Larry” Spicer is my adopted Grandfather. He married my maternal grandmother after my Mother’s biological father died in an Air Force airplane accident. Larry graduated from Stanford with an engineering degree while also running track. He was in the Air Force and spent time in real estate development before retiring. He then became the mayor of Indian Wells for two terms, and now remains very active by sitting on several boards, such as the Living Desert: Indian Wells’ zoo. Larry is part Cherokee. His wife and my Grandmother is a Reverend that remains very active as well.

 

Folklore:

“Because I am only partially Cherokee and do not maintain strong ties with its community, I only have bits and pieces of what you would call Cherokee folklore. I was brought up Catholic, so I don’t identify with many Cherokee beliefs, but I do find this one particularly interesting. It’s the Cherokee creation story.”

 

The earth is a great island floating in a sea of water, and suspended at each of the four cardinal points by a cord hanging down from the sky vault, which is of solid rock. When the world grows old and worn out, the people will die and the cords will break and let the earth sink down into the ocean, and all will be water again. The Indians are afraid of this.

When all was water, the animals were above in Gälûñ’lätï, beyond the arch; but it was very much crowded, and they were wanting more room. They wondered what was below the water, and at last Dâyuni’sï, “Beaver’s Grandchild,” the little Water-beetle, offered to go and see if it could learn. It darted in every direction over the surface of the water, but could find no firm place to rest. Then it dived to the bottom and came up with some soft mud, which began to grow and spread on every side until it became the island which we call the earth. It was afterward fastened to the sky with four cords, but no one remembers who did this.

At first the earth was flat and very soft and wet. The animals were anxious to get down, and sent out different birds to see if it was yet dry, but they found no place to alight and came back again to Gälûñ’lätï. At last it seemed to be time, and they sent out the Buzzard and told him to go and make ready for them. This was the Great Buzzard, the father of all the buzzards we see now. He flew all over the earth, low down near the ground, and it was still soft. When he reached the Cherokee country, he was very tired, and his wings began to flap and strike the ground, and wherever they struck the earth there was a valley, and where they turned up again there was a mountain. When the animals above saw this, they were afraid that the whole world would be mountains, so they called him back, but the Cherokee country remains full of mountains to this day.

When the earth was dry and the animals came down, it was still dark, so they got the sun and set it in a track to go every day across the island from east to west, just overhead. It was too hot this way, and Tsiska’gïlï’, the Red Crawfish, had his shell scorched a bright red, so that his meat was spoiled; and the Cherokee do not eat it. The

  1. 240

conjurers put the sun another hand-breadth higher in the air, but it was still too hot. They raised it another time, and another, until it was seven handbreadths high and just under the sky arch. Then it was right, and they left it so. This is why the conjurers call the highest place Gûlkwâ’gine Di’gälûñ’lätiyûñ’, “the seventh height,” because it is seven hand-breadths above the earth. Every day the sun goes along under this arch, and returns at night on the upper side to the starting place.

There is another world under this, and it is like ours in everything–animals, plants, and people–save that the seasons are different. The streams that come down from the mountains are the trails by which we reach this underworld, and the springs at their heads are the doorways by which we enter, it, but to do this one must fast and, go to water and have one of the underground people for a guide. We know that the seasons in the underworld are different from ours, because the water in the springs is always warmer in winter and cooler in summer than the outer air.

When the animals and plants were first made–we do not know by whom–they were told to watch and keep awake for seven nights, just as young men now fast and keep awake when they pray to their medicine. They tried to do this, and nearly all were awake through the first night, but the next night several dropped off to sleep, and the third night others were asleep, and then others, until, on the seventh night, of all the animals only the owl, the panther, and one or two more were still awake. To these were given the power to see and to go about in the dark, and to make prey of the birds and animals which must sleep at night. Of the trees only the cedar, the pine, the spruce, the holly, and the laurel were awake to the end, and to them it was given to be always green and to be greatest for medicine, but to the others it was said: “Because you have not endured to the end you shall lose your, hair every winter.”

Men came after the animals and plants. At first there were only a brother and sister until he struck her with a fish and told her to multiply, and so it was. In seven days a child was born to her, and thereafter every seven days another, and they increased very fast until there was danger that the world could not keep them. Then it was made that a woman should have only one child in a year, and it has been so ever since.

 

This is the most popular version. Posted online at http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/cher/motc/motc001.htm.

 

Analysis:

While my Grandfather certainly does not practice close ties with Cherokee customs, I admire the fact that he appreciates and respects them. He is familiar with many of them even though he was not fully immersed in the group’s culture, which I believe makes him a more interesting human being. The Cherokee creation story is vastly different from any traditional or popular religion creation story, or at least any one that I’m familiar with, however, it is very telling that he keeps in touch with his roots.

Earth cycle
Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine
Foodways
Holidays
Life cycle
Protection
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Eating dduk mandu gook (rice cake dumpling soup) on New Years Day

Informant is a descendant of Irish immigrants who married a Korean man so is familiar with certain Korean traditions.

Tradition as told by informant: Every new years Luis (husband) has the family eat the dumpling soup so I had to go online and look up how to make it.

Every new years Koreans eat this soup because they believe that Koreans age one year every new year. You don’t gain a year until you eat this soup so it is important to them that they have it. It also symbolizes good health and fortune for the new year.

The white, clear broth of the soup represents a clean fresh start to the new year and the disc shaped rice cakes symbolize coins for wealth and good fortune.

for more on this tradition see: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/ddukguk

[geolocation]