From September 18-20, I celebrated one of the largest holidays in Korea, Chuseok. Chuseok is a traditional Korean holiday, where families come together to give thanks to their ancestors for an abundant harvest. We might call it Korean Thanksgiving. It is celebrated with a lot of traditions and a lot of food.
I went to my friends house for Chuseok, and I was extremely nervous. I knew this holiday was really important in Korean culture, and I didn’t want to look like an American fool. But it was actually really similar to Thanksgiving back in the states.
On my way to my friends house, I could see how important this holiday was. I have never seen Seoul so empty. Hardly anyone was on the streets, and even more shocking, hardly anyone was on the subway at 9am! I was so surprised!!! Everyone was inside doing their morning ritual, so that’s why it was so empty.
When I arrived at 9:30 in the morning, my friend’s family had already finished their bowing and giving thanks to their ancestors. So after we took a quick picture of the set up with my friends father and grandmother we ate breakfast!
We ate so much food, and it was all so good. My friends father even offered me Soju, which I drank.
After breakfast, everyone rested, some of us even fell asleep. Then it was like a normal holiday. We ate lunch together again, eating mostly the same food we had for breakfast. Then I did some shopping with my friend.
After dinner, the younger generation ordered pizza and chicken and the older generation at bibimbap, we played a traditional Korean game.
Being perfectly honest, I’m still not sure how this game is played. All I know is that you throw down 4 sticks, and depending if the flat side or round side is showing then you get to move. It was very confusing to me, but it was fun. Everyone was really excited and playing happily, and loudly!
My team won, and we won 30,000 won (about $30)!
It was nice to be surrounded by such a happy and fun family. They accepted me in, immediately, and spent the entire day trying to teach me Korean culture or language. They were so kind, and they were extremely pleased when they saw I was enjoying myself.
It was really a great holiday and experience.