January and Folk Customs

In January there are two of 24 seasonal divisions of the year: Sohan and Taehan.

Sohan, which means the beginning of the severest cold, falls on January 5 this year.

When the temperature drops after Tongji, the winter solstice, people say the winter cold begins. This implies that the severest cold begins from Sohan in Korea.

So, there is a saying “Taehan freezes to death on a visit to Sohan”.

Taehan, which means the height of the winter cold, falls on January 20 this year.

From ancient times, the Koreans enjoyed hunting in this season.

In particular, hunting was encouraged in the period of Koguryo (277 B.C.-A.D. 668) and Koryo (918-1392) as it played an important role in training martial arts and building up body.

This season, the Koreans liked eating onban (meat soup with rice in it), jongol (stew) and beanpaste soup. Children enjoyed playing a shuttlecock game, top spinning and paduk.

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