S. Koreans debating zodiac New Year

Dec. 24, 2006 at 6:04 PM

DAEJEON, South Korea, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- With New Year's Day looming worldwide, fortunetellers throughout South Korea have begun debating what day truly marks the start of the zodiacal New Year.

The Korea Times reported that at the heart of the debate among fortunetellers is whether Dec.22, known as Tonji, or Feb.4, named Ipchun, marks the true start of the annual zodiacal year.

Depending on the interpretation used, the end results of a person's fortune could vary greatly and with the popularity of fortunetelling in South Korea peaking, that difference could have an impact on millions.

"There is 45-day difference between Tonji and Ipchun. It means 6 million people born during that period could have been given different fortunes. Moreover, any people who had their fortune read during the term could have had different fortunes told," said Lee Sang-yup, a member of the fortuneteller group that initially broached the topic.

Lee told the Korea Times that the common misconception likely arose from an incorrect translation from a key fortunetelling text that placed the start at Ipchun and not at Tonji.

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