Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year?
K-pop stars Jang Won-young of IVE and Seohyun of Girls’ Generation have been bombarded by Chinese social media users after referring to the Lunar New Year holidays using the English term “Lunar New Year” or Korean “Seollal” instead of “Chinese New Year,” while Danielle of NewJeans got in trouble for the exact opposite thing.
Jang uploaded a post on Instagram on Sunday, the day of the Lunar New Year, reading “Have a happy Seollal!” with a picture of herself wearing hanbok, traditional Korean dress. The post was soon filled with comments criticizing the singer and calling her out for calling it Seollal not Chinese New Year.
“You have to get out of K-pop,” “I hate you” and “Why do you deny 5,000 years of history?” read some of the comments on the post.
Seohyun, a singer-turned-actor whose real name is Seo Ju-hyun, suffered a similar attack on her post on Sunday, reading “Happy Lunar New Year.”
Efforts by Chinese social media users to force the use of the term “Chinese New Year” were not limited to Korean celebrities, with the British Museum also coming under attack for publishing an article “Celebrating Seollal” that introduced it as the “Korean Lunar New Year.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Danielle of girl group NewJeans apologized Saturday after asking fans what they’re doing “on Chinese New Year” in a message on fan community service Phoning on Thursday. Korean fans immediately complained.
“I immediately realized my mistake and deleted [the message], but it had already been sent to many people and now it has become irrevocable,” she said in an Instagram post. “The Lunar New Year is a holiday that many countries, including Korea, celebrate and my expression was highly inappropriate. I deeply apologize.”
Danielle, whose real name is Danielle Marsh, is a 17-year-old member of the rookie girl group born in New South Wales, Australia, and has a multiple citizenship in Korea and Australia.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]