Ready to try out your Korean skills while you bring in the new year? We’ll show you how!
Before we get into that, a few important things to go over related to New Year’s in Korea.
Firstly, Korea has two New Year celebrations. On January 1st, there is the celebration of the Solar New Year, 신정 (Sin-jeong). That is the celebration covered in this article.
However, in late January or early February, Koreans celebrate the Lunar New Year, 구정 (Gu-jeong), by having a large holiday known as 설날 (Seollal). During Seollal, people usually visit their hometown, eat 떡국 (Ddeok-gook) with their families, and visit their ancestors’ graves.
During the Solar New Year, people often spent time with their friends. In Central Seoul on New Year’s Eve, many people gather to hear the ringing of the bell in Jongno on the stroke of midnight.
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Formal ‘Happy New Year’ in Korean
1. 새해 복 많이 받으십시오 (sae-hae bok mani baduh-ship-shi-o)
This phrase is often used in formal situations, greetings cards, and when speaking to people you want to show lots of respect towards. The 십시오 ending is the extra-formal way of saying -세요.
Standard ‘Happy New Year’ in Korean
1. 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (sae-hae bok mani baduh-sae-yo)
This phrase is the go-to way of saying ‘Happy New Year’ in Korean. 새해 is one of the words that means ‘new year’, 복 means ‘luck’, and 많이 means ‘many’ or ‘lots of’. 받으세요 is the honorific way of saying 받다, meaning ‘to receive’.
2. 행복한 새해 되세요 (haeng-bok-han sae-hae dwe-se-you)
This Korean expression is an alternative to 새해 복 많이 받으세요 and still means ‘Happy New Year’. Use them both if you want to get extra practice!
Informal ‘Happy New Year’ in Korean
1. 새해 복 많이 받아 (sae-hae bok mani badah)
Typically, most people wouldn’t use the informal version of this phrase. However, the informal phrase is ok to say between close friends and family.
New Year’s Resolutions
새해결심 (sae-hae kyeol-shim)
The concept of making resolutions is less common in Korea than it is in other countries. However, if you want to tell people your new year’s resolution then you can end your sentence with -기로 했어요 (gi-ro haess-eo-yo). This ending means ‘I plan to’. Look at the examples below to see how it is used:
Korean New Year’s Resolution Example #1
살을 빼기로 했어요
(sal-eul bbae-gi-ro haess-eo-yo)
I plan to lose weight.
Korean New Year’s Resolution Example #2
한국어를 더 열심히 공부 하기로 했어요
(han-guk-eo-reul teo yeol-shim-hi kong-bu ha-gi-ro haess-eo-yo)
I plan to study Korean harder.
Korean New Year’s Resolution Example #3
체육관에 더 많이 가기로 했어요
(che-yuk-kwan-eh teo man-ee ka-gi-ro haess-eo-yo)
I plan to go to the gym more often.
Hopefully now you know how to say ‘Happy New Year’ in Korean. Remember to learn the phrase 새해 복 많이 받으세요 so that you can wish all of your Korean friends a happy new year!