Amazing Kids! Magazine

Chuseok

By Aazan Ahmad, age 14, Seoul, South Korea

 

Chuseok, also known as Korean Thanksgiving, is one of the most important holidays in Korea. Chuseok spans over four days and to celebrate its importance, the Koreans do not work/attend school during these four days. In 2015, this holiday occurred on September 27th. The Koreans were off work/school on September 26, 27, 28, and 29 accordingly. It is celebrated with all the family members coming together and gathering in their family homes, with the younger generation paying their respect to the elders.

Charye: Korean Memorial Services

To honor their ancestors, the Koreans hold memorial services, also known as Charye, on Chuseok morning. After the memorial services are complete, the family enjoys a delicious meal, usually consisting of freshly harvested rice, traditional liquor made of harvested rice, and rice cakes known as Songpyeon. The graves, or Seongmyo, of the ancestors are also visited during Chuseok. During this visit, the family members gather together to remove the weeds from the graves; this practice is known as Beolcho. This is done to show duty, love, and devotion to the ancestors.

Ssireum: Korean Wrestling

In some areas of Korea, Korean wrestling matches, or Ssireum, are also held during Chuseok. Two opponents try to pin each other to the ground. The winner then wrestles with the other top opponents. At the end, the winner receives cotton, rice, or a calf. These prizes show the strength of the winner as he is then considered the strongest man in the entire village.

Hanbok: Korean Traditional Clothes

This holiday is also celebrated with many Koreans wearing either western clothes or the traditional Korean clothes, known as Hanbok. Bim, the act of purchasing new clothes on the occasion of Chuseok or New Years, is done to show the importance of such holidays. Unfortunately, some Koreans, especially the poor ones, are not able to purchase new clothes.

Ganggangsullae: Korean Circle Dance

The Korean women, dressed in Hanbok, form a circle, hold hands, and sing. This Korean circle dance is known as Ganggangsullae. According to legend, during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the Korean army dressed women in the army uniforms and commanded them to circle the mountains. This made the enemies believe that the Korean army was much greater in size than it really was. Because of this strategy, the Korean army had many victories over their enemies.

Korean family enjoying each others’ company

Chuseok has always been a time where families get together to enjoy each other’s company. They tell stories, sing Korean folk songs, visit deceased family members’ graves, and eat. To show love, honor, devotion, and loyalty to families, whether dead or alive, Chuseok traditions have always been important in Korean history.

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