Lunar New Year – 설날

It was a good long break over Chinese New Year wasn’t it? Did you find it hard to get back to work/ school this morning? Frankly, I was glad to get back to normal routine this morning. Running around to get errands done at the last minute is NOT that much fun. Trust me.

Last week,  Korea Tourism Oranganisation hosted some activities at Korea Plaza that are associated with the Lunar New Year or 설날. There were traditional games, traditonal snacks and drinks and even hanbok dressing.

One of the games, Jegichagi/재기차기 is very similar to the local game of  Chatek. And indeed, if you check out the wikipedia link here, you will find out that a similar game is played in many countries. I remembered playing it when I was young but was never good at it. Co-ordination not very good. hehe!. Learn how to make the toy here.  They also had other gmes like  tuho/투호 and  paengichiki/ 파엔기치기).

Tuho/ 투호- You have to throw the arrows into the vase. Personally, I think shooting the arrows would have been more exciting. hehe!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLDDWPF_XI

KTO staff teaching some guests on how to play paengichiki /파엔기치기- throw the spinning top and try to knock out your opponents’ top. But errr. as you can see, it’s not easy trying to get it to spin. Hmmm…I think more boys’ game. No?

Then there are the traditional rice cakes and drinks…

And if you are feeling adventurous, you can try out the recipie, using  Tteok / 떡. Not as sweet as some of the usual Tteok that I’ve tried. (Btw, there is a small little small shop in Square2 selling all these traditional Korean rice cakes).

Traditional cake must go with traditional drink. Here’s one of them-

Sujeonggwa/수정과 is made from  dried persimmons, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorn and garnished with pine nuts. It is also extremely sweet and you would often have this as a dessert in a Korean restaurant. Best way to have it really chilled.

KTO also arranged for a special hanbok photo taking contest. Not only could you take photos in hanbok, (did you read about my experience in Korea here?), you could also join in their contest and win prizes. Check out their facebook for more details. Some of the photos quite cute leh. Not sure when the contest ends…couldn’t find the deadline. Anyone knows?

On a side note, I discovered the beautiful background picture where everyone was taking their hanbok photos was err… a little interesting. Want to check it out?

I was told it’s a famous painting but don’t know what what’s the name of the painting. Anybody care to enlighten me?

Lastly, the one reason that I went down to Korea Plaza that day- to learn GoStop.

Now I’m sure you’ve seen enough Korean dramas and movies to see this game being played. I’ve always been intriqued by it. Although I must admit, I had this impression that it was played by little old ladies (I have this group of little old ladies playing cards downstairs at my block everyday). Wakaka!

According to the little research I’ve found on the internet, GoStop may have originated from Japan in the 19th Century. The game uses flower cards called hwatu/ 화투. There are no numbers on the cards.. just pictures of flowers, with addition of animals or scenary. There are 12 types of flowers, each representing a month. It’s a game played between either 2 or 3 players. No more. Pretty intimate game. And the winner decides to Stop (and collect all his winnings) and Go (and continue).

Now, the interesting part of the game was.. I had to throw down a card that corresponds to the same flower card in the central pile. But when I group them for points, I do so according to whether they had animals, or ribbons or the charcter guang/ 光。 Which creates some confusion for a first timer like me. But it was still tremendous fun. Took me a while to recognise the flowers too. To be honest, I still don’t really understand the rules of the games. If you are keen, you can check out the site here. The pack of cards is not too expensive- about S$6, which you can get from the local Korean supermarket. There are lots of Korean sites that you canplay this game for free but all need a Korean ID. Hmm…

Maybe KTO should organise a GoStop competition? It would be fun. And oh, I won the game. Beginner’s luck? ^^

Watch this clip below on how Cha Tae Hyun tried to cheat his grandson in the game from the movie, Speedy Scandal’. hehehe!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krkmY6GJP2k

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