Korean Thanksgiving – Chuseok
During mid of autumn, the hectic city of Seoul falls into a relatively hibernation. As locals celebrate one of the biggest festivals other than Seollal. If you closely followed the news and festivals, you might have heard about Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving, a time to share food and thank their ancestors for the great harvest. Chuseok is celebrated every year on the 15th of lunar 8th month. This year, Chuseok will fall on the 8th September, which is just around the corner.
Train and bus tickets sold out like lightning speed, be prepared to be sandwiched by the pack if you are visiting any province areas. So to mention the highways going out of Seoul will be on a standstill as Koreans return to their hometown, it literally means that the hustle and bustle streets in the city will be left with only a few cars. Also note that majority of the shops and department stores in town will be closed during this 1~3 days (actual day, 1 day before & 1 day after will be a public holiday).
No plans on Chuseok? No worries, you can spend time watching and experiencing some cultural performance which will be organized by Seoul Metropolitan Government to make sure everyone that stays in Seoul doesn’t need to waste their time doing nothing.
During the actual day, family members wakes up very early to prepare food waiting to be offered to ancestors during ancestral rite, can you believe Koreans might spend up to 1 million won for Chuseok on the ancestors rite?
Some said that only men is allowed to pray the ancestors though it depends on family customs, dressed in suits, doing the full bow, daebae, while children and women will be wearing Hanbok and socks is definitely a must. The main food during this festival will be the songpyeon, a rice cake with stuffing such as red bean paste, mung beans, honey and sorts, taking the shape of a half moon after wrapping up and steamed over a layer of pine needles for the fragrance, also known as the most crucial part of this traditional delicacy.
Ganggangsullae, a folk dance known as the Chuseok or Full moon dance where women wore traditional Hanbok, holding each other’s hands in a big circle while singing and dancing under the full moon. Traditional games such as Yut Nori will be played on this day too.
Happy Chuseok in advance!