Tradition: New Year ' s Day and Sebae Essay

Submitted By Petercho
Words: 984
Pages: 4


My family is not a very traditional family; we do not really celebrate anything at all if I think about it. Thanksgiving and Christmas is just another day for us, we don’t do anything else. The only tradition that my family celebrates is a Korean tradition called Sebae, also known as Ritual Bow. It occurs on New Years and it is something celebrated amongst almost every Korean. In my essay I will discuss what exactly happens during Sebae, the history of Sebae along with how to perform the Sebae and how it relates to myself. If you ask any child what Sebae is they will all give you the same answer, being that it is a time when they get money. That is true, but it is not the only thing that occurs during Sebae. There is not a set time or place that Sebae has to be done . What will tend to happen is that relatives will all gather at a family members house and there will be elders and the children. First thing is first though; a child must wear something called a hanbok, which is a traditional Korean wear. The children wish their elders a happy new year by performing a traditional bow. When performing the bow they say the words “saehae bok mani badeuseyo” which translates to “have a blessed New year.” After that parents will generally talk to the children about their future and their plans for the New Year and reflect a bit on last year. After that parents typically reward the children by giving them New Year’s money in bags made with silk that carry a design and usually a phrase offering words of wisdom. In my family though my parents and elders just give us the money and we accept it with two hands due to respect. After those parents usually give out rice cakes and fruit to the children as part of the ceremony, however my family does not do this. This is what typically happens when my family does Sebae. Sebae seems very simple and like a great thing to do because the children get money. However, the tradition caries a lot more history than one may think. Bowing has always been an important element of Korean culture. The type of bow varies depending on the occasion. The Sebae is a very formal bow performed on very formal occasions such as wedding days, funerals, but in this case and most popularly on New Years. The Sebae was formerly used when greeting loyalty in Korea such as Kings and Queens. There are different ways for men and women to perform the Sebae. Men start with putting left hand on top of the right hand. Then they stand up straight with hands resting in front of their stomach. Then they raise both hands to their chest and bend both knees to kneel. Then they bend their upper body and bow their head, once the head touches the back of your left hand they stand up straight raising the right knee first. Women were traditionally expected to perform more of a respectful bow rather than men. Women have a formal bow and a simplified bow. Women start with the right hand on top of the left opposed to men putting left on top of right. They then raise both hands to eye level with the head slightly bowed and eyes on their feet. After they sit down cross legged with hands still raised at eye level, they bend their upper body and the arms will be about chest level, they stay in this position for 2-5 seconds before they are given permission to get up. They then come up from the cross-legged position until they are standing with their hands