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January 25, 2020 – Seollal 설날 (Korean New Year)

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to members of the Canadian Korean community on the occasion of Seollal or Korean New Year which marks the beginning of the Year of the Rat.


Seollal is the first day of the lunar calendar and is a family holiday which lasts three days. Many people return to their hometowns to celebrate together with their family members.


To mark the occasion of Seollal, a variety of special dishes are prepared, such as Tteokguk (soup with sliced rice cakes) and variations of Jeon (Korean-style savory pancakes). On the day of the New Year, as per tradition, families gather in the morning to perform ancestral rites. Children also wish their elders a happy New Year and are rewarded with packets of money and words of wisdom. Games such as yunnori, jegichagi, neolttwigi and gongginolie are played; men and boys fly yeonnalligi (kits); and, children spin paengi.


Toronto is a proud multicultural city that embraces a wide variety of cultures and faiths.  Our city flourishes because of the diversity of people who have chosen to make Toronto their home. It is important to recognize each and every community that plays a part in enhancing Toronto’s social and cultural landscape.


As the Newcomer’s Advocate with the City of Toronto I strongly believe that we must work to together to promote togetherness. We must Respect our newcomer communities. We must Accept our newcomer communities. We should Celebrate our diversity and Embrace our different cultures and traditions, because we are all part of the human RACE.


As you gather together to honour the centuries-old traditions of Seollal, may health and prosperity be yours in the coming year. The New Year is a time of great hope, a time to look forward to the future and to follow new dreams.


May I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Happy and Prosperous Seollal! 새해복많이받으세요!