Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Chuseok: Korean Thanksgiving

Over the weekend here in Korea we had one of the major holiday periods, Chuseok (추석). Chuseok is a traditional Autumn festival where people celebrate over three days. This is a time where a great majority of the population go to their home town to visit their relatives or to the place where their oldest relatives live. It is a very important time of the year and people make great effort to navigate their way across the country to go back home. I spent the holiday time out of the country with my wife in Hong Kong and Macau.

The holiday can be viewed as an equivalent to the North American holiday Thanksgiving. . During this holiday, families celebrate by eating a large meal consisting of lots of traditional Korean food. During this time people also visit tombs of their ancestors to pay their respects to older generations. Traditional costumes such as the hanbok are also worn at this time and the family sometimes gathers around to play games.

People also give gifts to their families which can be purchased in most shops during the run up to Chuseok. Examples of gifts, which are in gift boxes, would be expensive fruit, alcohol, toiletries and food such as (bizarrely to me) spam. These gifts can range from the easily affordable to being very expensive, depending on what the gift is. Often bosses of companies give employees such gifts as a token of appreciation. At my previous academy I don't recall ever getting one but where I currently work everyone seems to receive one. My girlfriend got some expensive seaweed and I got what you can see below. I won't need to buy toothpaste for a while.

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