Monday, September 17, 2007

Chuseok--Korean Thanksgiving Holiday


Chuseok-Korean Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated all over the world at different times of the year and in different ways.

For Koreans, the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday is called Chuseok. This year is falls on Tuesday September 25. Most South Korean firms will close for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Celebrated for centuries as the lunar-based (fifteenth day of the 8th lunar month) Fall Harvest Festival, Chuseok is among the most important of Korean holidays, a day filled with family and tradition. Millions of Koreans travel to join their family and celebrate traditional customs of Chuseok, including ancestral memorial rituals, followed by a day of special foods and family-focused activity.

One of the most popular of the traditional foods is song pyeon, which is a pine needle-flavored half moon-shaped rice cake.

In Korea, during the days prior to the actually holiday, streets and stores are packed with shoppers buying food and gifts. Gift-giving is an important aspect of the holiday. This year gift certificates will be popular presents to family members and corporate employees. However, newly harvested fruit is also a preferred gift for relatives and neighbors, while liquor is often given to colleagues and work supervisors.

As for travel, Chuseok is similar to holiday travel in the U.S., each year record numbers of Korean jam the roads, rail lines, and airports with holiday traffic. In fact, most airline and train travel has been booked for months.

I’ve always advised my clients and friends not to travel to Korea during the Chuseok holiday.

Please take a moment early next week and wish your Korean colleagues a Happy Chuseok. (For those in America and working with teams in Korea, late Thursday U.S. time would be appropriate).

추석 잘 지 내 새요. or 추석 잘 보 내 새요.

If you wish, this is an appropriate greeting:

Chuseok jal ji nae sae yo. or Chuseok jal bo nae sae yo.

To conclude, even though many things have been changed by Korea’s rapid industrialization, urbanization, and globalization we find in the celebration of Chuseok Family remains the bedrock of Korean society.

Questions? Comment? Please feel free to contact me….


  1. Anonymous6:31 AM

    thank you
    that was really interresting!!!

  2. thank u for your information,,, i wish want to know more about korean festival... when it is 추석, is there any sales around seoul??

  3. Businesses are closed during Chuseok. Seoul is kinda a ghost town during this time because most people are visiting their relatives. There is lots of traffic and most families will spend several hours on the road.

  4. Thank you for the information. I was just looking for the greetings used for Chuseok. I want to please my Korean friends on this important day for them. So "Chuseok jal ji sae yo!' to you too.

  5. 대를7:38 PM

    if i want to greet same aged/younger friends, which of the 2 greetings that u mentioned is more suitable?

  6. Yes never travel. Driving from Seoul to Pusan can take 24 hours!

  7. Best time to exlore Seoul.