Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chuseok for expats in South Korea

Chuseok holidays start from Last week of September,(September 29 - October 1, 2012)
 Chuseok (추석), is the biggest festival of Korea.
It is called the Thanks giving day or also called the Harvest festival. The Koreans say prayers and thanks to their ancestors by offering food, or flowers to the ancestors graves.
The Korean families conduct ancestor's worships at their home and hometown.
In modern days, Korean family get-together and celebrate by cooking special foods  and playing games at home. Some Koreans visit the temples and offer prayers.
You can eat a lot of sweet dak(rice cake) at this time and also songpyeon.

Top 5 Korean customs and traditions in Chuseok Holidays:
  • Charye is the Ancestor memorial service which is performed by Korean families at homes.
  • Beolcho is cleaning the dust around the grave
  •  Seongmyo is visiting ancestral graves
  • Ssireum is Korean wrestling
  • Chuseokbim is the Korean dress, special for the festival

All the family is well-dressed in Korean traditional clothing's and offer prayers.The festival is a totally family affair. Hence Korean friends get busy with the preparations and celebrations.
Being an expat, Chuseok holidays can be boring as they are long holidays. I miss my home in this festive season. Most of the expats prefer visiting their home country in these holidays.

If you are staying in Korea in the Chuseok holidays, it might get boring as most of the shops & restaurants are closed and trains, buses etc all are overbooked. There are many traffic jams on the road, as Koreans are travelling to their home town. Even homeplus, Emart etc are closed for few days.

Good thing about Chuseok is that the Korean Govt. organizes several events and activities for Chuseok Holidays especially at the National Parks, National Museums and Korean folk villages, in order to promote Korean culture. They offer discounts for the foreigners to visit the National museums and parks. Also there are many Folk games, programs, and performances held at Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Deoksugung Palace.

Last year, I was in Seoul for Chuseok 2011 and I really enjoyed the Korean traditional parade at Gyeongbokgung Palace. The palace is really magnificent and magnanimous. In chuseok time it was very beautifully decorated. See some glimpses of my visit:

Chuseok 2011 at Gyeongbokgung Palace

Also you can get information about the Chuseok events on korea4expats website. I have found the site has many good information for expats in Korea.
See the link below for more information about the events:

Happy Chuseok in advance!

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