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Samjil Nal (삼질날) Posted by on Mar 26, 2009 in Holidays

Samjilnal (삼질날) is known as one of those special occasions that fall under the category of seshi pungsok (세시풍속).  Seshi pungsok (세시풍속) is a term used to describe festivals that are celebrated with the change in seasons.  Samjilnal (삼질날) is considered an auspicious day because it’s celebrated on the third day of the third month (March).  The number three is designated a lucky number.  The number three is considered a umyang (음양) number, which is considered a positive number.

Samjilnal (삼질날) is now an almost obsolete festival.  You really only see it celebrated in the countryside.  To usher in the springtime, people play a game called hwajun nori (화전노리).  Hwajun nori (화전노리) is a game where you have to pick fresh azaleas called jindalle (진달래) and mix it with glutinous rice with a frying pan called bulchul (벌철).  Whoever makes the best flower cake wins.  You can’t cheat by buying the cakes at the store, so you have to have mad cooking skills to win this!

The typical drink on samjilnal (삼질날) is hwache (화채).  Hwache (화채) is a Korean fruit punch made from azalea petals, mung bean starch, honey and water.  (Notice a pattern here…azaleas).  There’s no alcohol in hwache (화채).  It’s simply a cold refreshing drink.  Some people have allergies to azaleas and flowers in general, so they don’t drink hwache (화채).  Instead, they’ll drink omijacha (오미자차), which is a tea made from wild berries.

I’m sure everyone is busy, but just remember to take a little time to enjoy the coming of spring.  Once spring is here, it goes by so fast, and you don’t want to regret not enjoying at least a little of it.

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