Celebration of the First Full Moon
Sunday the 28th of February (2010) is the celebration of the new year’s first full moon. (대보름). This occurs on the 15th day of the lunar new year. I was wondering why the markets and supermarkets were suddenly full of nuts, walnuts being the most popular, and discovered that one of the celebration’s traditions is to crack open nuts with one’s teeth as this is supposed to guarantee their health throughout the coming year. Other traditions include mountain climbing, especially to see the rising moon as well as eating five grain rice (오국밥). Yakshik (약식), a tasty rice cake containing chestnuts, pine nuts, honey and sesame oil, is also eaten. Celebration is more noted in rural areas where dried grass is burnt. Originally, this occurred between rice fields and was probably a means of killing insect pests.