For Koreans, the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday is called Chuseok. This year is falls on September 11-13.
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. Liquor is often given to colleagues and work supervisors.
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.
I’ve always advised my clients and friends not to travel to Korea during the Chuseok holiday.
Outside Korea, please take a moment next Monday September 12 and wish your Korean colleagues a Happy Chuseok. (For those working with teams in Korea, contacting them NOW 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 that family remains the bedrock of Korean society.
Questions? Comment? Please feel free to contact me….