Of all the celebrations in the Philippines, welcoming the “new year” is my most favorite. There’s just so much activity going on and so much food being served. Families spend hundreds or even thousands of pesos purchasing a variety of pyrotechnics. Others would tie big cans of oil or biscuits on their cars, jeepneys and tricycles to add more noise. And of course, there are those who would creatively make their “canyon” out of empty soda cans. New Year’s Eve in the Philippines can’t be beaten! Hehe…
That is why being here in Korea made me miss all the holiday revelry back home. I’ve spent one quiet New Year’s eve in 2004… it was soooo uneventful! We just watched television waiting for the striking of the Boshingak Bell in Jongno, Seoul.
On the eve of 2006, my husband and I decided to welcome the new year differently. At 3PM, we walked along Cheonggyecheon all the way to Jongno3-ga, where there are three multiplexes, to watch “The Chronicles of Narnia“. We were there by 4:30 PM but we were only able to get tickets for the 9PM showing at the Dansungsa Cinema. So we had dinner first and went to a coffeeshop, where we wasted our time talking about nothing!
Cheonggyecheon on New Year’s eve
The movie finished at 11PM so we decided to proceed to Jonggak, where the Boshingak Bell is located. We moved slowly since there were so many people going to that place as well. “Roman candles” lined up the wide road of Jongno. The two blocks leading to Jonggak were closed to vehicle traffic so everybody was on their feet. On the street, there’s a group of performers dancing to “pungmullori” (watch the video), a traditional Korean dance/music where they play percussion instruments.
Christmas decor in Seoul
We weren’t able to go to Jonggak. It was too crowded and too many people just pushing around. There were modest fireworks at midnight, nothing really spectacular. On the way back to Cheonggyecheon, we passed by a place where a “Samulnori (information from NCTKPA)” was being performed (watch the video). It was great, the performers were full of energy.
We walked along Cheonggyecheon on the way back home. As far as I can remember, we were home by 2AM. Tired but happy…