새해 복 많이 받으세요

새해 복 많이 받으세요
Saehae bok manhi badeuseyo (Please get many new year blessings)

This is the traditional Korean wish for New Year’s Day. Originally it was used (and still is) for Lunar New Year (late Jan/early Feb) but is now also used on 1 January, which is also a public holiday in the Republic of Korea. Saehae is ‘New Year’, ‘bok’ is ‘fortune’, ‘manhi’ is ‘many/much’ and ‘badeuseyo’ is ‘get (politely)’. Various other translations of the whole sentence exist, including ‘get/receive/take’ or even ‘I give you’, and ‘many blessings’, ‘much fortune’, ‘much luck’ and ‘a lot of luck’. Sometimes ‘bok’ is written in a Chinese character.

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2 thoughts on “새해 복 많이 받으세요

  1. The German version makes less sense literally: “Einen Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!” = “Slide well into the New Year.”

    I’m interested to see the similarity between “many” (English) and “manhi” (Korean). Do you why this is? Is it a loan word like cheesu, or a “pure” Korean word?

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  2. Hi Rachel. Einen Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr! to you, too.
    The similarity between ‘many’ and ‘manhi’ is purely coincidental. If you compare enough unrelated languages, you’ll find coincidences sooner or later. Most loan words are nouns, and most are for objects or concepts which didn’t exist in that culture pre-contact (like, presumably, cheese). I’m sure the Koreans had the concept of many/much before contact with English-speaking people.

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