How I (A Transracial Adoptee) Celebrate Seollal with My (Mixed) Family
Celebrating Seollal with Korean traditions always feels a bit awkward for me. Obviously, I didn’t grow up practicing these customs. Everything I teach my son is something I learned about as an adult. And, I often feel I am approaching it as an outsider. I have a bit of uncertainty and a lot of insecurity. Over time, I’ve learned to push through the discomfort to finally feel like I rightfully own the customs of my heritage and the traditions my family is creating. And, thankfully, nowadays there are more resources available that are inclusive and inviting.
Books We Love Reading at Lunar New Year
- Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, by Aram Kim
- 우리 옷 고운 옷 한복이 좋아요, by 김홍신, 임영주
- Korean Celebrations, by Tina Cho
- Tastes of Lunar New Year, by Cheryl Yau Chepusova
Books are one of my favorite ways to highlight the holiday. They are a great way to discover more about each custom especially since I’m learning about these customs along with my children. Over time, I’ve collected a nice mix of Korean and English books about 설날 Seollal. I’ve also found some really great books that talk about Lunar New Year across other cultures. Below are a few of our favorites.
What to Watch During Seollal
We also LOVE Woori Show and their special episode about 설날 Seollal. If you haven’t seen it, Woori Show is such fun and engaging content for Korean families of all types (or, really anyone interested in Korean language and culture!) I love the rich content and fun format which is inspired by Sesame Street. My son loves the silly songs and playful energy! It’s cute, educational, and a really wonderful way to learn about the holiday together.
Practicing a Lunar New Year’s Bow
We also have beautiful 한복 hanbok for the kids to wear. And, after reading books and watching Woori Show, my son has a little know-how on performing 세배 sebae – the New Year’s Bow. Admittedly, it feels a bit strange because we don’t really have any “elders” for our kids to really 절 jeol bow to. But, I really love that they can experience and take part in this part of their culture. I hope that in the future, they can feel a bit of ownership (and a little less impostor syndrome) over their own heritage.
Sharing 설날 Seollal with Delicious Food
One of the easiest ways we learn about and experience Korean culture is through food! We ALL love Korean food so much. And, cooking, serving, and eating customary meals together is so fun. My son really loves 떡국 tteokguk lately. So, he is very excited about our 설날 Seollal meal. Korean Bapsang is my favorite website for recipes. They are really easy and she does such a wonderful job breaking down each step. If it’s a little intimidating or you’re short on time, you can splurge for DooFood meal kit delivery. They often offer have the meals you would expect during certain times of the year! I really love how easy they make it. And, the ingredients are always fresh.
And, no play kitchen is complete without play versions of 떡만두국 tteokmanduguk rice cake dumpling soup. Like Tigerboom, Dumpling Mart was created by a mom who couldn’t find toy versions of her favorite Korean foods. Each set is crafted with care and any of the kids who visit our play kitchen love the toys we have from Dumpling Mart. My son loves the feel of the acrylic 떡 tteok and he loves putting together his own pot of soup while we cook.
Make Your Own 설날 Seollal Greeting Cards
As you know, Tigerboom started because I couldn’t find materials that worked with our whole family. So, of course I had to make coloring pages for 설날 Seollal too! Color and fold a greeting card that wishes the receiver a Happy Seollal. Or, color and cut out mini cards for classmates or family.
Download 설날 Seollal Printables
Download the page of mini cards.
Download the foldable card.
Approaching 설날 Seollal as an adoptee has been a journey and I am sure I still have a lot to learn. But, we are enjoying the process together and I hope you will too! I would love to hear what you do to celebrate the holiday.