Hwangab

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Hwangab
Chinese name
Chinese 甲子
Korean name
Hangul 환갑
Hanja 還甲
Japanese name
Kanji 還暦
Kana かんれき
Kyūjitai 還曆

Kanreki (Japanese), Hwangab (Korean) or Jiazi (Chinese), is a traditional way of celebrating one's 60th birthday in the East Asia. The number 60 means accomplishing one big circle and starting another one in one's life as the traditional 60 year calendar cycle of lunar calendar.

In the past, average life expectancy was much lower than 60, so it also meant a celebration of longevity. The celebration party is also a wish for an even longer and prosperous life. This party is customarily thrown by the children of the one who is turning 60. On one's Hwangab, family and relatives prepare a big birthday celebration with lots of food.

With the advent of modern health care this occurrence is much more common than it used to be. Many Koreans now take trips with their families instead of having a big party to celebrate their 60th birthday. Parties are also thrown when a person reaches 70 (called Gohi or Chilsun) or 80 (Palsun) years of age.

See also[edit]

  • Dol janchi, the one year birthday celebration in eastern Asian countries
  • Janchi