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Memorial expenses for Lunar New Year's holiday rise 3.7 percent

All News 14:39 January 21, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- An average 260,000 won (US$215) will be needed for Seoul citizens to prepare the traditional dishes for the memorial services to their ancestors during this year's Lunar New Year's holiday, known as "seollal" in Korean.

A Seoul city-run agricultural corporation said Thursday the increase in the expenses for traditional memorial services was mainly due to rising prices of meat, fruits and vegetables.

Ahead of the Lunar New Year's holiday, which falls on Feb. 8, the Seoul Agro-Fisheries & Food Corporation has conducted price surveys of 36 common goods at 50 traditional markets and 15 large-scale retailers.

The prices vary depending on location. At traditional markets, 257,234 won is needed to purchase the necessary foods for the memorial service, a 3.7 percent increase from last year's 247,976 won.

But when they are purchased at large retailers, the prices are far more expense, averaging 316,000 won. Prices at traditional markets are 18.6 percent lower than those at retailers, according to the corporation survey.

An official of the corporation said the increased expenses are mainly due to soaring prices of meat, mostly beef and pork, which has seen a 16 percent increase from the previous year.

Fruits prices also rose, but the price of yellow croaker, the main fish served at memorial tables, declined.

Seollal provides a rare opportunity for South Koreans to go home and spend time with family and friends.

Families typically eat "tteokguk," or rice cake soup, to mark adding a year to one's age, and they perform ancestral rites. Meat, fish and fruits are offered to ancestors as a way to pay respect and give thanks for the coming year.

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