Lunar New Year (known in Korea as 설날 , Soellal) always makes me wonder: why do so many/almost all lunar calendars start at the new moon rather than the full moon? The full moon rising is one of the most glorious sights in skywatching and is unmissable in anything but totally overcast conditions. The new moon is invisible under any circumstances. As far as I know, no lunar calendar begins at the full moon; certainly the three best known, Hebrew, Islamic and Chinese, begin at the new moon.
The three day holiday in South Korean falls on Sunday 7th, Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th this year. For many people, Saturday 6th makes a four-day weekend. (I’m on three weeks’ holidays anyway). But essential services, transport and retail, to name but three, continue as usual; indeed they are extra busy -long-distance public transport is often booked out months in advance and the motorways are chockablock for most of the whole time. I have my train tickets already.
PS added 6 February – there is an extra public holiday this year. Seollal falls on Monday, so the three-day holiday is Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but the government has also designated Wednesday as a public holiday as well. A report in the Korea Herald quotes the ministry of transport estimating that 36 million Koreans will be travelling somewhere this weekend.