Korean children cash in on Seollal

February 18, 2015

What Korean children love most about Seollal is probably the money they get for paying respect. (NEWSis)

By Lee Ji-hye

Lunar New Year can be lucrative for children.

Many children visit their grandparents on this national holiday dressed in Hanboks, or Korean traditional dresses, and give a full bow, or “sebae,” where they sit or kneel on the floor and bend their heads in a show of respect.

What comes after that is a handful of money.

According to a Gallup Korea survey of 1003 men and women, elementary school children receive an average of 17,100 won (about $17) while 32,900 ($32) is given to middle school students for Lunar New Year.

Survey respondents also said that more than 50 percent of them had not done anything recreational with the family, possibly hinting that our culture for gathering around the table to socialize during the holidays is fading.

In a 2006 survey, 39 percent of respondents said they had not played games with their family on Seollal.

“The holidays should be about the families and the spirit of gathering than the materialistic values our children have been exposed to,” a Gallup Korea official was quoted as saying.