Jeongwol Daeboreum refers to the first full moon of the Lunar New Year, which falls on the 15th day of the lunar calendar. This first full moon is considered to be the largest and roundest of all the moons in the year. On this day, traditions and customs are performed to wish for a peaceful and bountiful year. In 2016, Jeongwol Daeboreum falls on February 22 of the Gregorian calendar.
In the morning of Jeongwol Daeboreum, people wish for good health and fortune for the year by cracking the shell of a peanut or walnut with their teeth; they also wish for only good news during the year by drinking cheongju, a clear, strained rice wine. To celebrate this first full moon of the lunar calendar, people also share dishes like ogok-bap (boiled rice with five grains) and namul (seasoned vegetables) with their neighbors.
Other famous traditions for Daeboreum include jwibulnori and sajanori. Jwibulnori, or playing with fire, involves burning rice fields and vegetable gardens to kill insect pests and to ease cultivation for the coming season. Sajanori is the more festive tradition. For sajanori, men form a parade wearing lion masks. The culmination of the celebration takes place at night in the tradition of dalmaji, which entails visiting high places to view the full moon and make wishes with friends and family.
Photo: Sajanori to ward off spirits in the village
Photo: Burning of straw to chase off evil and call in good luck (left) / Jwibulnori to clear the fields of insects (right)
Located on Namsan Mountain, N Seoul Tower is the most visited observatory and the best place to view the full moon for couples in Seoul. It has an outdoor observatory as well as restaurants and coffee shops. Visitors can also stop by entertainment facilities in N Seoul Tower, or enjoy a walk in the neighboring park.
Namhansanseong Fortress is located on Namhansan Mountain, which spans across three cities in Gyeonggi-do, including Gwangju-si, Seongnam-si, and Hanam-si. Here, visitors get great views of the full moon from the Sueojangdae command post, as well as night views of the Songpa-gu district of Seoul and the central part of Gyeonggi-do. Visit some of the historical sites at Namhansanseong Fortress to enjoy great views of the full moon.
Gyeongpodae Pavilion is situated on a hill by Gyeongpoho Lake on Korea’s east coast. The pavilion offers great views of the sea and the lake. The sight of the moon reflecting on the lake at night is so impressive and inspiring that the pavilion has been visited by scholars and poets for centuries.
Ganworam Hermitage is a small Buddhist temple in Seosan, Chungcheongnam-do. It has been said that the Great Master Muhak, the most pious monk of the Joseon Dynasty, found enlightenment here while watching the moon. Ganworam looks like it is floating on the sea during high tide, while during low tide, the land under the temple is exposed with a path connecting it to the mainland. The hermitage is popular for watching the moon as well as the sunset.
Wolchul literally means "the rising of the moon." The view of the moon rising above the peaks of Wolchulsan Mountain is indeed one worth seeing. Though Wolchulsan Mountain rises only 809 meters above sea level, it has several dramatic peaks that join together to create a splendid view. The mountain is a popular place to hike at night during the full moon.
Dalmaji-gil Road is situated on Wausan Mountain between Haeundae Beach and Songjeong Beach. Halfway up the road is Dalmaji Park. Many coffee shops dot the road from Dalmaji Hill to Haewoljeong Pavilion, attracting young couples on romantic dates.
In the past, Korean families made ogok-bap, cracked bureom, played jwibulnori or burned daljip with neighbors in the fields to celebrate Jeongwol Daeboreum. Nowadays, it is rare to see these traditional events in cities; however, some regions try to keep them alive by holding annual Jeongwol Daeboreum events.
* This column was last updated in January 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check from the official websites before visiting.
<Last updated on January 27, 2016>