Watching the sunrise makes us feel great but the first sunrise of the year will always be special especially in South Korea it means new hope.

Meaning of First Sunrise for Koreans

Other countries usually celebrate the new year by preparing special foods and wait for midnight to eat together with the family. While South Korea doesn’t have those traditions, instead they always prepare for the first sunrise of the year. It’s called 해돋이 (hae-dot-chi) or first sunrise in English. This is a long enjoyed tradition by Koreans where they look back and reflect on what happened in the past year. It’s also the time to wish for good health and better days for the coming new year.

First Sunrise of 2020

silver grass and mountain

This year, the sun didn’t rise in Seoul but in the other part of the country like in Busan, Gangwondo, Pohang (those places near the sea) have witnessed the first sunrise. Yearly from 2016 after I arrived in Korea, we usually go to Gangwondo mainly in Sockho but from last year and this year, we didn’t have the time to go. So I decided to watch the sunrise at Hanuel Park alone because my husband and son are sleeping so deeply.

I am not new to the scene of watching the sunrise, I know a lot of people will be present on the first day of the year. Foreigners are even present at the festival. In addition, there are some presentations that can be watched while waiting.

I went out at 5:30 since the travel time from my house to Hanuel Park is 1 hour. I arrived at 6:30 and walked about 30 minutes going to the park because the buggy wagon is not present. The buggy wagon is the mini-shuttle that you can ride going to the park if you don’t want to walk. They provided 2 mini-shuttle but it cannot carry all the passengers so a lot of people decided to walk. Everyone was rushing to reach the park to get the best spot. But when I arrived, there’s a lot of people already.

At 7:47 am the sun should have been risen but sadly we didn’t get the chance to see it since the weather became cloudy on the first day of the year.  But luckily the people who went near the sea saw the beautiful sun.

sunrise and balloons
First Sunrise 2020, Wando, South Korea

My friend who lives in Wando had the opportunity to watch the sun rises and took a great photo. Another place in Ulsan which they called Ganjeolgot Cape which is one of the best places or spots to watch the first sunrise in mainland  Korea. I wish that I can visit there one day.

Here are some photos from the year 2017 and 2018 first sunrise taken at Sockho, Gangwon province. This place is the most famous tourist spot from spring to winter. Beautiful flowers during spring, beaches, and streams for summer, Mount of Seoraksan for an autumn festival and lastly the ski resort during winter.

sun and sea
First Sunrise 2017, Sokcho, Gangwondo, South Korea

Every sunrise is a miracle. It’s a great blessing for every one of us. Watching the first sunrise of the year is one of his greatest gifts. God made beautiful things for us to remind us that even though life is hard sometimes still “life is beautiful”. So always remember, God is always there for us. Sunrise reminds us of new beginnings every time we wake up. It gives us another day to be strong and face every challenge that we have. Just keep on moving and believing that we can move mountains no matter how hard it is.

sun and sea
First Sunrise 2018, Sokcho, Gangwondo, South Korea

 

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