(I will modify the Romanization for easier pronunciation).
Hint: Break the greeting into: sae hae bok—mah ne—bah deu say yo
In South Korea, the government recognizes Christmas December 25 as a public holiday. Christians, who make up about 30% of the population, celebrate the occasion as a religious holiday.
Like in the West, both Christians and non-Christians may engage in some holiday customs such as gift-giving, sending Christmas cards, and setting up decorated trees in their homes.
Each year I see more signs of commercialism in Korea with stores and buildings displaying Christmas decorations and offering holiday sales. What may surprise some is that public and company Christmas trees and decoration stay up way past the holiday. In fact, many stay in place to the Lunar New Year.
Sae hae bok man i ba deu say yo! works well and is a common seasonal greeting. For those wanting to wish someone Merry Christmas use Sung tan jul chuk ha.
If you have a specific holiday question, please feel to contact us by email.
On behalf of myself and Korea Expert Witness, have a happy holiday season!
Sae hae bok man i ba deu say yo!