Tomorrow (12th September 2011) marks Chuseok (추석) this year and Koreans are excited about this important festival. Chuseok is sometimes translated as “Korean Thanksgiving” as its a celebration of good harvest. Let us see what are the traditions of Chuseok!
On this day, everyone will dress in new Hanbok and girls are sometimes adorned with beautiful traditional headress called “Ayam (아얌)” or “Jokduri (족두리)” like what IU is wearing on the above picture. IU looks great in traditional Hanbok, doesn’t she? No wonder she was titled as the female idol made for Hanbok in a recent poll for Chuseok!
Hanbok can be easily purchased in department stores in Korea. Check out my previous post where you can see how Korean celebrities look in their beautiful Chuseok Hanbok.
Chuseok Exodus (추석 귀향)
As Chuseok is a family-oriented festival, many Koreans living in the cities will head to their respective hometowns. This year, Koreans will enjoy a four-day long Chuseok weekend, from 10th Sept to 13th Sept. According to Korea Times, 14 million people are expected to crisscross the country. Therefore, Seoul is expected to be exceptionally quiet during the Chuseok holidays. Meanwhile, a typhoon is expected to hit Korea this holiday.
Charye, Beolcho and Seongmyo (차례 벌초 성묘)
Korea is heavily influenced by Confucianism. Therefore, in celebration of this important festival, Koreans will honour their ancestors. In the morning, Koreans will perform Charye (차례; 茶禮), which is a table setting of food to pay respect to their respective ancestors at home. The important food offering for Chuseok Charye is freshly harvested rice and fruits. After which, family members will sit around the table and enjoy the food together.
Beolcheo (벌초; 伐草) means clearing the weeds around the ancestors’ grave that are grown during the summer season. Seongmyo (성묘;省墓) is the visitation of grave of ancestors and to pay respect with fruits, meat, soju and sikhye.
Folk Games and Dance (민속 놀이 & 민속 무용)
Many games are played during the joyous festival. Korean men will play “ssireum 씨름 (Korean wrestling)” and tug-of-war. The ladies will do a “Ganggangsulrae 강강술래” dance. This dance involves women dressed in Hanbok joining hands and singing songs together. There are also many traditional drumming, dancing and singing involve particularly in villages.
If you’re visiting Korea during the Chuseok holidays, it is best to visit the villages where celebration are more vibrant.