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Korean Culture – Chuseok/Hangawi Festive

Chuseok is a festive holiday in Korea and last for three days. It is also called Hangawi and is celebrated on the fifteen of August or the 15th day of their lunar calendar. It is a harvest festival that takes place around the Autumn Equinox like other harvest festivals do.

The celebration begins with the Korean people visiting the ancestors in their hometown and sharing their traditional cuisine with each other.

This holiday has historic values to the Korean people as it represents the third king’s reign of the third Kingdom of Silla. During this time, there was a contest of weaving among two teams.

The team that won had to treat the other team to a feast of traditional food. Some believe that its origin came from the celebration of the Harvest Moon and a ritual of worship.

Some areas of Korea do not celebrate Chuseok if they don’t have an annual harvest and their worship is put off too for the same reason.

South Korea has some modern areas that celebrate Chuseok to maximum proportion where they will go in mass crowds to their hometowns and pay their respect to their ancestor’s spirits. They also worship their ancestors with early morning rituals.

They go to visit the graves of their direct ancestors and clean up the area around the grave site. They will even go to the extent of offering food and drink to those ancestors who have died because they believe that the harvesting of their crops is due to the blessings given to them by their ancestors.

During the Chuseok festivities, one of the main foods that are prepared for eating is the songpyeon, which is a rice cake steamed on pine needles. They will also prepare common dishes such as japchae, fruits and bulgogi.

The Koreans anticipate a rich harvest and the coming of autumn so they use this time in celebration of those occurrences by playing folk games. The people in the village dress up like cows or turtles and go to each house playing their musical bands.

Included in their games are tug of war, archery and cock fighting. In the southwestern regions, a circular dance under the moon is performed by the women and the children.