Monday, September 16, 2013

Chuseok 2013--Some Insights

Over the years, I've enjoyed sharing significant Korean culture events. Chuseok is perhaps the most celebrated of the traditional holidays.

Harvest traditions are celebrated all over the world in different ways. For Koreans, the traditional celebration this year is September 19, but the legal holiday is observed for a total of three days September 18 – 20. (Fortunately, this year’s Chuseok holiday falls from Wednesday through Friday making it a five-day holiday in total.)

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. In many ways it is similar to America's Thanksgiving--minus the turkey and trimmings. :)

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

Song Pyeon 
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. Liquor is often given to colleagues and work supervisors.

Many retailers prepare special gift boxes for Chuseok
As for travel, Chuseok is similar to the U.S. and Europe around the Christmas Holidays. Each year record numbers of Koreans jam the roads, rail lines, and airports with holiday traffic. In fact, most airline and train travel has been booked for months.

Please take a moment on Wednesday September 18 and wish your Korean colleagues a Happy Chuseok. (For those working with teams in Korea, contacting them sooner would be more appropriate, since most will taking a holiday break from work).

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

Questions? Comment? Please feel free to contact me


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