According to our Lonely Planet book on Korea, "The Lunar New Year is celebrated on the first day of the first lunar month, which falls between late January and early February. Lunar New Year is one of the two most important holidays in Korean culture, during which half of the country ventures to their ancestral hometown to pay respects to deceased forebears with a big feast."
I’ve asked many of my students what they will be doing, and over 95% of them are headed to their grandparents. From what I can gather, there are no New Year’s fireworks, or huge celebrations. This is simply celebrating a new year according to the moon, and enjoying the comforts of family and friends. Most family run restaurants and stores will also be closed during this time.
Here is an article I found in The Korea Herald, an English newspaper that explains just how many Koreans will be travelling around the country, as well as coming back to Korea to visit their families.
Long Seollal Holiday Starts
Some 6.7 million people per day are expected to be traveling during the Lunar New Year holiday, raising concerns of traffic congestion. Highways across the nation are likely to be most congested today and on Friday, according to a Korea Highway Corporation survey of 5,000 households.
Half of the respondents said they would go back to their hometowns today and some 33 percent will return to
The survey also found that over 85 percent of households would be driving, 9.7 percent said they would take buses, 3.0 percent said they would go by rail and 0.4 percent said they would go by plane. An estimated 3.4 million cars per day will be on the expressways, an increase of 3.9 percent from last year’s Lunar New Year season, the KHC said.
The KHC anticipates that the average car journey between
The Road Traffic Safety Authority cautioned that car accidents could exacerbate the severe traffic jams. The number of injuries from road accidents typically increases by more than 20 percent during the New Year holiday season.
Meanwhile, hotels, condos and ski resorts are inundated with funseekers making the most of the five-day holiday. In
By Song Sang-ho, The