Chuseok in Korea September 30th, 2010
Greetings to everyone. :-)
The long Chuseok holiday is over and the autumn chills have set in. As you saw in the posting by Pamela, the Kia Buzz team also enjoyed the extended holiday. As promised, let me give you a brief introduction to one of Korea’s major holidays, Chuseok.
Chuseok dates back to the times when Korea was an agrarian society. It falls on the 15th day of the 8th month by the lunar calendar which coincides with the harvest season. Chuseok was a festive occasion in which families and relatives gathered to celebrate the year’s harvest and share good food and stories. An important part of the celebrations is cha-rye, a ritual offering thanks to one’s ancestors. Cha-rye still remains a unique part of Korean tradition and culture.
One of the major hassles of Chuseok is traffic congestion. Korea has a population of about 50 million (2009 basis). This year, about 49 million people reportedly traveled to their hometowns to spend the holiday. With so many people traveling all at once, it is referred to in Korea as “mass migration.”
After an arduous journey, people finally get together with their loved ones. The festivities include making and enjoying delicious treats like songpyeon (a type of rice cake), jeon (savory pancakes) and jabchae (vermicelli with vegetables).
As the holiday nears the end, people say goodbye to their hometowns and hit the road to return to their daily lives. It is another tiring journey on congested roads. Nonetheless, Koreans brave the heavy traffic every year to visit their hometowns. It’s a sign of the special meaning of family ties in Korea.
How do you celebrate special holidays?