is the Korean Thanksgiving Day. It is one of the biggest holidays in Korea just like 설날. It is August 15th in the lunar calendar. So the date of Chuseok changes every year.
What is origin of Chuseok?
In Korea, Chuseok is called as ‘Hangawi. The word ‘han’ means ‘big’ and the word ‘gawi’ is from an ancient word, which means middle.In other words, Hangawi means a big day in the middle of August.
The word “gawi” derives from “Gabae,” a game that was played during the Silla Dynasty, and “gil Ssam” refers to weave hemp cloth.
According to Samguk Sagi, during the Silla Dynasty, the two princesses divided women who lived in Gyongju into two group and in the July 16, get together in the garden with her own women. And they start to weave hemp cloth. On August 15th, the team determined the score and served the winner with liquor and food. At that time, they sang and danced. This play was called Gabae, and later was changed to the word “Gawi.”
Chuseok was also celebrated during the Goryeo Dynasty, and in 1518 (the 13th year of King Jungjong’s reign), it was designated as the three major holidays along with Seol and Dano.
What Koreans do on chuseok
During the holidays, most people visit their hometowns of relatives. Families get together and share lots of traditional foods together. One of the major food is Songpyeon. It is a half-moon shaped rice cakes stuffed with sesame, beans, chestnuts, etc.
Chuseok is also a time to give thanks to ancestors for the good harvest. Many people visit their ancestors’ graves before Chuseok and clean up the graves. Early in the morning on Chuseok, family member perform an ancestor memorial service.
This ritual is called Charye. People thank ancestors for what they had this year and wish for another good year.