As many of you know many Idols, companies and broadcasting networks are currently on holiday to celebrate Chuseok. This year Chuseok holiday is 10 days long ,it began on September 29th and ends in October 9. Chuseok is Korea’s Thanksgiving it is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in North Korea and South Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar on the full moon. This is the time family get together to honor ancestors and deceased relatives as well as celebrate the culture and history of South Korea.
Here are some of the traditions Koreans do to honor their ancestors.
The Charye is one of the most important memorial rites to be performed. Performed in the morning, the Charye ceremony consists of placing various tribute foods in an arrangement on a table before saying a good prayer. In general, rice is placed on the northern end of the table, fruits and vegetables on the southern end, meat on the western end, and rice cakes and drinks on the eastern end.
Along with visiting ancestral homes and paying respect through rites, it is also a tradition to honor ancestors by visiting graves or urns. South Korean people usually say a few words to pay respects to their fallen relatives’ spirits. It is also common to leave a tribute such as food or wine.
While visiting graves during sungmyo, South Koreans will clean headstones and the area around the grave. During bulcho, people may pull weeds, plant flowers, scrub dirt off of headstones, and rake fresh dirt to the surface of the grave plot. This is a process that is representative of the filial piety and respect for ancestors that is common in South Korean culture. Graves with weeds still growing around them after the Chuseok holiday will make others assume that they have undutiful children, and is considered an embarrassment for the family.
After all the important rituals are completed on Chuseok day families gather around and enjoy a feast a symbolic food is Songpyeon which is a sweet rice cake that is enjoyed as a snack or dessert. It is consisted of rice powder dough that has been stuffed with sesame seeds, red beans, chestnuts, and other fillings. When you make the songpyeon, you make a wish as you scoop in the contents and carefully fold it up into a crescent shape so that your wish doesn’t fall out. The elders will often nag to shape them as pretty as possible, as there’s a saying that the prettier you shape your songpyeon, the prettier your future daughter will be.
Wishing all the Koreans a Happy Chuseok Day!