Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving

Jesa is a ritual remembrance of one's ancestors.

Chuseok is probably the most important holiday in Korea. As such, I get the whole rest of this week off from work, which is awesome. But I’ll be extremely busy, as during chuseok you have to spend a lot of time with your family. The part of my family that’s in Korea doesn’t live in Seoul, and thus I’ll probably be stuck in traffic for a good part of the 6 day weekend. So that means I probably won’t be updating very much.

What is Chuseok exactly? Well, some people call it the Korean Thanksgiving. It’s origins are that it is a harvest festival. It always happens on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar calendar, which is Tuesday, September 21st this year.

On Thanksgiving in America, we celebrate the beginning of the systematic genocide of native Americans our nation, as pilgrims in search of religious freedom came to a new land to convert or kill scores of native Americans in the name of their religion flee religious persecution, and start a new life in America.

Chuseok is similar in that Koreans give thanks for the harvest, and remember their ancestors in a ritual called jesa, which some people translate as “ancestor worship”. I’d say it’s more to do with remembering members of your family who have passed away, and giving thanks to them for their contributions to your life.

Happy Chuseok everyone, and I’ll see you in a week.

(Edit: Thanks to a commenter, I’ve found that this article is probably incomplete because I didn’t talk about the food. I’ll instead leave you with this link to the Ask A Korean Blog, where he does a much better job of explaining the food, and jesa in general, than I ever could.)


9 Responses to “Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving”

  1. You missed out of Chuseok foods, the most important thing! X)

  2. I’ve watched a documentary about Chuseok and all the procedure of Jesa. I think Iìit’s a bit complicated because it takes a lot of time and there are many procedures to do.
    A friend explained me that the word chuseok has chinese origins. Chu-> auntumn and seok-> evening, right?

    Happy 추석 Seoul Searcher!
    Have a great time with your family~ ^^

    • Almost all of Korean traditional words are based on Chinese charactors including Chuseok, but Chinese don’t use ‘Chuseok’ in China 🙂 Just the word is consist of Chinese chactors. It’s a Korean word! They call their ‘Thanksgiving day’ zhōngqiūjié(中秋節) which means Mid-Autumn Festival =) Needless to say, it influenced Chuseok!

  3. Happy Chuseok!!!
    And enjoy your days off with your family! 🙂
    The chuseok is somewhat like the “Dia de Muertos” (day of the Dead) in Mexico, we don’t have a ceremony to remember the members of our family that died but we do put the food they liked in a table with candles, toys (for the kids) and stuff like that, at the last day we all gather around and eat the food.

  4. LOOOOOOOL at your sarcasm LOOOOOL

    Its so sad that I have to miss 추석 ~_~

  5. Hwang Sun Ju Says:

    Tomorrow is Chuseok, so my mother is very hard….. I will help my mother. Happy chuseok!!

  6. It’s really hard to stay away from my family when the biggest holiday of Korea is comming. My family is in Korea, and I’m in Vancouver. I miss food and my family. I’m gonna make a phone call to my parents.

  7. Happy Chuseok everybody. 🙂

  8. As I said this Gisela this festival is similar to “Dia de Muertos” in Mexico.
    and this tradition is a mixture of indigenous and Spanish customs.

    Happy Chuseok!!

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