Korean New Year (Seolnal/설날) – The Korean Zodiac

As it’s coming up to the Korean New Year soon, we thought we’d take a look at some of the traditions and history behind the event, and have a look what we in the UK can do to celebrate. First up, astrology!

Although many of us in the UK know about Chinese astrology and the zodiac signs they have, Korea too has a similar system. Now we’re coming into the year Dragon, let’s find out about the Korean zodiac system, or the 12 earthly branches (십이지/Sipiji), and what it may mean for the UK!

In the Korean zodiac system, there are 12 gods of the earth or 십이지신/sibijisin (십이(Sibi) = 12, 지신(Jisin) = Earth gods), which are (in order): Rat 쥐(Jwi), Cow/Ox 소(So), Tiger 호랑이(Horangi), Rabbit 토끼(Tokki), Dragon 용(Yong), Snake 뱀(Paem), Horse 말(Mal), Sheep 양(Yang), Monkey 원숭이(Wonsungi), Chicken 닭(Dalk), Dog개(Kae), Pig 돼지(Dwaeji).

12 Zodiacs

These earthly branches assigned to the different animals were even used for time keeping!

Earthly Branches Time

Take a look at this handy guide (originally from here) to find out what each animal’s time of the day means!

Symbols of Sibiji / 십이지
Jasi (23:00-01:00): The mouse is most active during this time.
Chuksi (01:00-03:00): The cow ruminates its cud and prepares for the next morning’s work in the field.
Insi (03:00-05:00): The tiger is the most ferocious during this time.
Myosi (05:00-07:00): Before the sunrise, a jade rabbit can be seen in the moon high in the sky.
Jinsi (07:00-09:00): The dragon flies and prepares for the rain.
Sasi (09:00-11:00): The snake is still sleeping so it will not harm humans
Osi (11:00-13:00): As the yang of the earth turns to yin at this time, the horse gallops across the earth.
Misi (13:00-15:00): The sheep must graze the field at this time so as not to harm the grass.
Sinsi (15:00-17:00): The monkey cries the most at this time.
Yusi (17:00-19:00): After a whole day of searching for food, the chicken finally goes to its nest.
Sulsi (19:00-21:00): As the sun sets, the dog starts looking after the house.
Haesi (21:00-23:00): The pig has the sweetest dream at this time.
This information taken from here. Believed to be wards against evil spirits, images of the zodiac animals were often placed outside royal tombs, and other important places.

Beautiful Zodiac Statues at Gyeongbokgung Palace

Beautiful Zodiac Statues at Gyeongbokgung Palace

If you want to find out what animal year you were born in, please visit this site to find out, and also see what personality traits the animal has. Tell us if you match the personality of the animal year you were born in!And so what does this all mean for people in the UK? Apart from it being fun to work out what animal year you were born in (tiger year is the coolest!), different years with different animals mean different things. This year is an especially auspicious year – not only is it the year of the dragon, but it’s the year of the Black Dragon, which only rolls around once every 60 years! So if you’re into your astrology (and you’re old enough) this is set to be a good year to have a baby which will be filled with luck. So if you’re planning that your future children will be rich and look after you when you’re old, now seems like a good year start that plan if you want a lucky child.

It also seems like the UK will be lucky this year in terms of all things Kpop. Over the past few weeks, rumours of various Kpop idols and groups visiting the UK have been sweeping the nation. The first part of this year promises to have a whole host of Kpop events lined up. Thank you Mr. Black Dragon! This year we hope that the Black Dragon’s luck will extend to our island, and make this year one filled with fun Korean events and culture.

Sources for article from hereherehere and here
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