Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Korean Autumn Rite Festival

By Amy Shin, age 11, Hong Kong


I wake up to the chanting sound of eomma (Mom) praying.
Sniffing, I smell the delicious scent of steaming red beans.
Sliding on my wicker slippers, I glance at eomma,
Who is wearing a turquoise and yellow silk hanbok.
As she opens the steamer lid, the aroma of rice cake and boiled pork flows out.

I hear rustling sounds as appa (Dad) wakes up
And comes into the living room clothed in pale blue and violet.
Everyone is ready to worship the gods.

Seongju, the House Guardian, protects us anytime and anywhere.
This god is born each time a new house is constructed or a new family member is born,
And it is he who brings cattle, grain, rice, and silk clothing to the home.
Jowang, the Kitchen God, is known as the Fire God,
And governs the kitchen while overseeing the fortune, health, and welfare of the family.
A dangerous creature who wants to be treated with care,
He harms anyone who dares to dishonor the god.
He will deal with an unhappy ghost for the rest of his life.

Teoju, the Land Tutelary God, is responsible for the grounds
And oversees the peace and safety of the family.
This deity is located in the backyard, where he keeps guard.

To honor the gods, the wooden altar is filled with scrumptious food:
Three rice-cake steamers with boiled pork and dried fish in the handle.
The whole family prays,
“Make our family live well, as well as our grandchildren.”

After breakfast and prayers, the rice cake is split in to even pieces and put in every room—
The bedroom, kitchen, and stables—
So the smell of the steamed red beans can chase away bad fortune.
After an hour, we gather up and eat the food,
And as we end the ceremony,
The bad fortune flies away, leaving us just the good luck.