When thinking of the fall season, many think of it as the beginning of the holiday season. In America, we celebrate Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving; but Koreans celebrate their own Thanksgiving, Chuseok (추석, literally translated to “Autumn eve”). Chuseok is a major harvest festival and three-day holiday that is celebrated during the full moon of the 8th month of the lunar calendar—thus, it is celebrated on different dates every year. This year, the celebration will be September 30 through October 2, and we have all the information you need to know to help join in on the festivities.
Although Chuseok is referred to as Korean Thanksgiving, Korean people actually participate in gift-giving, unlike American Thanksgiving. In addition to presenting gifts to their relatives, Koreans will give gifts to friends and business acquaintances to show their appreciation. Some customary gifts include high-quality cuts of beef, fresh fruit, and gift sets that can range from affordable to jaw-dropping expensive.
Korean people also play folk games with their families during Chuseok. Some of these games include dalkssaum (닭싸움, literally translated to “chicken fight”), where players try to knock each other over while holding onto one leg and hopping around; and jegichagi (제기차기), a popular children’s game similar to hacky sack that involves kicking a jegi (or shuttlecock) so that it doesn’t touch the ground. Other common games are yutnori (윷놀이), a traditional board game in Korea, and yeon nalligi (연날리기, or kite flying). Though these games have been around for many years, they remain timeless ways for families to engage in friendly competition during the festival.
Chuseok is one the biggest events in Korean culture, and like American Thanksgiving, marks a time for family and friends to gather and show appreciation for one another. With the holiday coming up soon, here are two ways to wish others a nice Chuseok!
- Have a nice Chuseok with your family.
가족들과 함께 즐거운 추석 보내세요.
Gachokdeulgwa hamkke cheulkeoun chuseok bonaeseyo.
- Have a full-hearted and generous Hangawi.
마음까지 넉넉해지는 풍성한 한가위 보내세요.
Maeumkkaji neokneokhaejineun pungseonghan hangawi bonaeseyo.