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