Chuseok, Thanksgiving Day of Korea


What is Chuseok?

  •  Chuseok is a korean traditional thanksgiving day in September. During Chuseok, people usually go to their parents’ house and meet their parents and relatives, and ask each other’s recent works or share well-wishing remarks. Most people hold a memorial service, which is called ‘Jesa’ in Korean, for their ancestors and go to their ancestors’ grave to cut the grass around a grave.
  •  Koreans eat special rice cake called ‘Songpyeon’ during Chuseok. Songpyeon mostly has half-moon shape and it is made with rice, (sweet) beans, etc. Actually when Koreans cook Songpyeon, they put some pine tree needles to add pine tree flavor, but in these days, they do not put pine tree needles because of some reasons such as environment pollution or pesticides.
  •  During Chuseok, children make a polite bow in front of their relatives or grandparents for wishing their good health and long life. After bowing, adults give words of blessing or advice to the children and give some pocket MONEY to them.

Jesa table

Chuseok in these days

  •  Lately, Chuseok have lost its traditional importance and most people regard Chuseok as just good holiday. So some people do not go to meet their parents and relatives.
  •  Some people do not hold a Jesa for their ancestors because of religious reasons. For example, some Christian family skip Jesa and just pray for their ancestors. Also, due to religious reasons, many people have hard time during Chuseok. Sometimes some family have a quarrel with their relatives or even some family get a divorce.



Chuseok traffic jam in 1993



Problems in Chuseok & Chuseok Stress

  •  Due to the characteristics of Chuseok, tons of people go to their hometown to visit their parents and relatives. So, many traffic jams are occurred on a national scale
  •  Some parents extort money from their offsprings and they always say, ‘It’s too big to manage yourself. So give it to me. I will keep it and give it back to you when you become adult.’. Do not believe your parents. When you become adult, they will say like that: “I spent it for your education!! your money was gone already!” I say it again. Do not believe your parents.
  •  Many women hate Chuseok because they have to prepare tons of useless foods in order to perform Jesa. So lately, Jesa has been simplified.
  •  Actually, Many Korean students have been suffering because of Chuseok. When they visit their grandparents’ home, their relatives ask PERSONAL questions such as ‘What is your grade?’, ‘My daughter got A in final exam. How about you?’, ‘My son graduated MIT and entered Google. How about you?’, etc. These questions make students crazy.
  •  To sum up, Chuseok has many negative aspects. So I suggest that not to visit your relatives. Instead, how about spending Chuseok in home with just your parents and siblings?