December and folk customs

Winter dishes
Winter dishes: Red-bean porridge, Cold noodles, Radish water kimchi, and Cinnamon punch. (Photo Credit Uriminzokkiri)

December is winter in Korea.

In December there are two of 24 seasonal divisions of the year: Taesol and Tongji

Taesol means the period of heavy snowfall, which falls on December 7 this year.

From olden times, people say that, in case of heavy snowfall in Taesol, they will have a mild winter that year and a good harvest the following year.

Tongji is the winter solstice, which falls on December 21 this year.

In this season, rural communities stored the collected grains safely, manured the seeded wheat and barley fields and repaired tools for the next year’s farming.

Favourite foods in this season were rice and red-bean porridge, cold noodles, tongchimi (radish pickled in salt water), fruit punch, etc. Most famous among them was rice and red-bean porridge, which was prepared on Tongji.

Tasting rice and red-bean porridge together with neighbours that day, the Koreans promoted harmony with each other. It was one of folk customs.

In this season, children played a shuttlecock game, soccer and other folk games.

(Uriminzokkiri - December 5, 2020)

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