North Korea’s New Year Celebration
North Korea which shares the same roots as South Korea naturally has its own New Year customs. But how do the New Year celebrations in North Korea differ from those in South Korea despite their proximity?
In South Korea, people exchange the phrase “Happy New Year” before and after the New Year and Lunar New Year holidays. However, it has been reported that in North Korea, people offer the greeting “Congratulations on the New Year.” This is because in North Korea ‘luck’ or ‘fortune’ is considered superstitious.
However, recently, as South Korean movies and dramas have become popular among North Koreans, the phrase “Happy New Year” is also being used. But it is not a familiar expression in North Korea.
Also in North Korea, people often eat dumpling soup rather than rice cake soup. Some regions do eat rice cake soup or rice cake dumpling soup, but dumpling soup is the norm for most. This is thought to be because, unlike South Korea, which has many rice fields, North Korea is unsuitable for rice farming.
In relatively well-off Pyongyang, people enjoy rice cake dumpling soup made with meat broth. In the Kaesong region, they enjoy rice cake soup with buckwheat cakes.
Generally, the broth is made with pheasant meat, but if they can’t find it they make it with chicken or onions. A North Korean defector in his 30s explained in an interview with Asia Economy, “In South Korea, dumplings are made bite-sized, but when I was in the North they were made bigger than an adult’s fist. The dumpling filling contained pork and we also added dried radish greens and tofu. We didn’t put in glass noodles like in South Korea.”
By. Sul Hee Lee