Koreans celebrate the first full moon of the year which is January 15th in lunar calendar. It is called 정월대보름. 정월 means January, 대 means ‘big’ and 보름 means ’15th day’. Because we can see a full moon on the 15th of every month in lunar calendar, we call a full moon ‘보름달(the moon on the 15th).
On 정월대보름, there are a lot of things to do. We make a lot of 나물(Na-mool : vegetable dishes) with dried vegetable for winter and make 오곡밥(O-gok-bop : rice with 5 grains) and drink 귀밝이술(Gui-bahl-ghi-sool : traditional alcohol drink) to hope we hear good news for the year.
In early morning on 정월대보름, we crack hard nuts like pine nuts, walnuts or peanuts and throw them outside while we say “부스럼”. 부스럼 is a small pocket of pus on skin. Old Korean hoped not to get this skin disease to crack these nuts and throw them away. These nuts are called 부럼.
And on 정월대보름, when we say “내 더위 사 가라(Buy my heat)” to the first person who we see in order to not to be sick by heat in summer. And the person who hear this can response “니 더위, 내 더위, 맞더위(your heat, my heat, it is even)”. It is a funny joke to greet a person in the morning this day.
At night, in the past, people played 쥐불놀이(Gee-bool-no-ri : set fire on the farm field) in order to burn the field after harvest and chase out rats and also people wished on the first full moon(달맞이).
In modern days, many Koreans don’t celebrate as much as old Koreans, but we still make food and wish on the moon. Did you wish on the full moon? What was your wish?