- Eric Gwon
Chuseok is one of the most important Korean holidays that is held between September 20th to September 22nd. The definition of Chuseok is “Autumn Eve” in English, and it is a harvest festival that lasts for three days. Like American and Chinese Thanksgiving, Chuseok is referred to as “Korean Thanksgiving” due to its harvest associations and its timing in Autumn. Many South Koreans visit the hometown of their ancestors and their families for Chuseok.
About 2000 years ago, the Korean Thanksgiving “Chuseok” started. According to legend, an ancient King of the Kingdom, Silla, created a month-long weaving contest between two teams. The losing team treated the team who had woven the most cloth won, and them with food, drinks, and other gifts. Furthermore, Chuseok ties to Korea’s history, wherein agriculture was a big part of daily life. Koreans commonly offered rituals to ancestors to give thanks and celebrate the harvest moon.
Moreover, there are typically ancestor memorial services held in each Korean home on this holiday, and people will also visit the graves of their ancestors. South Korea is a culture where praising and respecting their ancestors is essential. When celebrating, it is a tradition for some people to dress up like cows or turtles in some rural areas and wander from door to door as part of a musical band. Many exchange gifts and games like archery contests, tug-o-war, and Korean wrestling are often played.
Each household of family feasts during Chuseok and cooks and eats traditional foods like Songpyeon, a rice cake with a special stuffing (sugars, peanuts, sweet potatoes, potatoes) steamed over pine needles, and rice wine. South Korean pancakes, fries, and fresh fruits are also commonly consumed during Chuseok. There are many different kinds of Korean pancakes and fries, including kimchi pancake, green onion pancake, chives pancake, and more. Some traditional fruits are watermelons, apples, Korean pears, pearsons, and Korean oranges.