Korean Language Blog

Sengil Chukhaheyo (생일 축하해요) Posted by on Feb 7, 2009 in Culture

Guess whose birthday it is today?  Give up?  It’s mine’s!  Today I turn one year older!  Want to know how old I am?  That…that’s personal, lol!  The Koreans calculate their age by two methods.  The first method is with the Gregorian calendar and is called yang lyok (양력). The second method is with the lunar calendar and is called um lyok (음력).   

Here’s where it gets complicated.  Technically speaking Koreans have two birthdays.  Some people will count the New Year as a birthday along with their actual birthday.  For example let’s say that your actual birthday is Jan. 26th and that you are 100 years old.  Let’s also say that the New Year on the solar calendar is Jan. 1st. (Duh!)  Some Koreans will consider themselves to be 102 years old because they calculate their age with their actual birthday along with the ‘birthday’ that came with the New Year.  Usually the New Year’s birthday is not celebrated, but it’s still counted as a birthday.

Also, when a child is born, that child is considered 1 year old as soon as the child comes out of the womb.  For example let’s say a child was born on Dec 31st.  Let’s also say that the New Year is Jan. 1st .  If the parents decide to count the New Year as a birthday, the child would be considered 2 years old; even though by Western standards he/she is two days old.

Anyway, today I had some miyok kuk (미역국) for breakfast.  Miyok kuk (미역국) is a soup made from seaweed, water, soy sauce and chunks of beef.  It’s usually consumed with rice.  Miyok kuk (미역국) is a typical meal served on one’s birthday.  It’s also served to women who have just given birth.  Miyok kuk (미역국) is considered healthy and important for the mother’s recovery.  Miyok kuk (미역국) is also a meal that is seved for students who have to take an entrance exam for college.  Again, miyok kuk (미역국) is considered nutritious and it’s often advertised as “brain food” or food that improves memory and cognition. 

Ok everyone, I’m going to head out to eat with some friends for my birthday.  Sengil chukhaheyo (생일 축하해요)! (Which means Happy Birthday in Korean).

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  1. aiskoa:

    i think i want some miyok kuk. hahahah. what’s its ingredients, anyway?