We are all insanely excited (and grateful!) for the mini-holiday we have next week! My Facebook news feed is overflowing with countdowns to trips to other countries, camping in Korea or just people being excited to stay in and relax before we take on the last few weeks before Christmas.
Chuseok holiday changes every year, because it is celebrated according to the lunar calendar. Some schools also give the sandwich day off! I remember 2 years ago, BF and I actually went to South Africa for Chuseok (madness!) because we had two sandwich days – Monday and Friday! Chuseok was from Tuesday to Friday, so we had a good 10 days off! We aren’t as lucky this year, but hey, who complains about vacation days?!
Chuseok is a three-day holiday to celebrate good harvests every year. Just like with other important Korean holidays, the families will visit the homes of their ancestors or parents to share food. About a week before Chuseok, the men in the family will go to the graves of their ancestors and clean it up a bit – or like my co-teacher likes to call it “it’s like giving my mom a haircut” (awkward moment #243).
On Chuseok day, the families offer food and crops to their ancestors. These are one of the many rituals performed on Chuseok. Some Korean foods are prepared especially for Chuseok, although it is still consumed during the year. The most popular would be Songpyeon – traditional Korean rice cakes. If you’d like to give your teachers rice cakes before Chuseok holiday, make sure that they are good quality! They also drink Dongdongju (a sweet, milky-white rice wine similar to similar to Makgeolli)
Since this is a traditional holiday, the Koreans usually dress up in their gorgeous Hanbok as well. This is the worst time to shop, because cute babies in their Hanboks are insanely distracting!
Traveling during Chuseok vacation is pretty rough! Train and bus tickets are booked in advance and the roads are nothing less than a nightmare. The best time to travel would be after the actual Chuseok Day. Most families finish the celebrations in the morning and then head home. The two or three days after are very quiet for traveling!
To all my blog readers, may you all experience a wonderful Chuseok break. If you’re traveling – be safe, enjoy, discover and experience. If you’re staying in – go pop the popcorn and enjoy relaxing! 13 weeks till winter break!