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A detailed explanation of 'Chuseok'

September 19, 2013 @ 11:05 am
by GhostWriter
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Chuseok (추석)

It's that time of the year again where the front page of allkpop gets loaded up with pretty pictures of celebrities in colorful hanboks, in addition to a vast coverage of exciting Chuseok variety specials.


For new K-Pop fans unfamiliar with Korean culture, it can seem like all of the colors just came out of the blue, but Chuseok is actually one of the four major holidays celebrated in Korea. So what are your idols heading home to? Check it out below!



Chuseok is sometimes referred to as the 'Korean Thanksgiving', 'Hangawi', 'Jungchujul', or 'Gabe' and is celebrated on the brightest full moon of the year, which occurs on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar, landing somewhere between September to early October on the solar calendar. Unlike Western society, Koreans still use the lunar calendar for important dates, so a lot of their holidays are centered around the moon and its cycle.

For 2013, the day of Chuseok falls on September 19th, and in 2014, the holiday will be celebrated on September 8th. Chuseok is essentially a celebration of a good harvest, as it's around this time that grains and fruits will be at their ripest and freshest for harvesting.

To celebrate a year of successful farming, families will all pack up and head home to their ancestral hometowns and 'bon-ga' (directly translated to 'main house', but it's usually the home of the oldest or head of the household, e.g., grandparents, parents), where they'll dress up in traditional clothing, cook delicious food, and pay their respects to their ancestors.



As you've probably noticed by now, respect for the elderly is a highly important trait for Koreans. Chuseok isn't simply just a feast celebration, as there are three major duties that must be completed:

1. 'bulcho': Weeds and such that have grown around the graves of family members all summer long must be picked and discarded.

This is an especially important task for families because Korea (and Asian society in general) places a lot of emphasis on saving face before the public. When one commits a mistake, the first thought isn't, "Oh no, I am embarrassed," it's usually, "What would others think of this mistake?"

Graves with weeds still growing around them after the Chuseok holiday will make others assume that they have undutiful children, and is considered an embarrassment for the family.

2. 'sungmyo': Respect must be paid to the grave, often in the form of bowing before it and offering alcohol, fruits, meat, and shikhye.



3. 'charye': An elaborate table setting of food offered to the ancestors at home. There are several meticulous steps to setting this up and doing it properly, like lighting candles before the alcohol is poured in exactly three different cups and bowing twice after it. Each dish also has a specific area of the table it needs to go on.

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Once the tasks are completed, it's time to play. These games are outdated and families will normally gather to just chat and drink after dinner or play go-stop, but they're still often put on display at public events.



1. 'kangkangsullae': A game specifically for women, where several dozens will gather under the moon and dance in a circle, linking arms.

2. 'sonori'/'geobuknori': Two people will throw on a cape made of hanji (traditional Korean paper made from mulberry trees) and run around town under the guise of a cow or a turtle, going from house to house, asking for food. The food will often be shared with families who cannot afford Chuseok meals.

Others include wrestling, tug of war, and archery.



If you've been keeping up with the Chuseok videos here on allkpop, you've probably noticed that a lot of the stars just can't wait to make and eat songpyeon.



Songpyeon is one of the representative food items of Chuseok, and it's made from the newly harvested rice. It's essentially a small, crescent-shaped rice cake that contains either red beans, chestnuts, jujubes, powdered sesame, or just brown sugar.

When you make the songpyeon, you make a wish as you scoop in the contents and carefully fold it up into a crescent shape so that your wish doesn't fall out. The elders will often nag to shape them as pretty as possible, as there's a saying that the prettier you shape your songpyeon, the prettier your future daughter will be.





We hope this helped. Have a happy Chuseok from everyone at allkpop!

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liannangel2004
· Posted September 24, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

I read this every year!

Kangkangsullae looks like fun.

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koobigbang
· Posted September 22, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

​oh myy i love songpyun!! just had some todayy and i havent played chicken fight for a long time hahaha

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jackiie17
· Posted September 21, 2013 @ 8:07 am

​GD look so adorable!! :)

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fanygiraffe
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

​thanks for sharing this allkpop ^^ btw i wanna taste songpyeon, they looks so pretty 

(bigbang bacpack giveaway)

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growlwithexo
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

wow, thanks for this. i learned a lot. :D

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sokantheara11
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

Wooahahhah!!!!Songpyeon looks so good!

thanks for the explanation

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yelle95
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

Now I know what Chuseok is.. thanks to allkpop! 

[BIGBANG Backpack Giveaway]

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crazy4bigbang
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 11:23 am

CooL! That is so interesting! :D

Thank you!!

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jboss
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 11:21 am

Actually japanes, korean, and chinese all celebrate this same exact date.. Just in a bit diff way.. But the concept is the same.. Celebrate harvesting and the full moon. It's the brightest moon.. Well, almost all animals have their lives revolves around the moon.. Like mating season and so on... This include human (animalia).. That's why many ancient culture like chinese, korean and japanese (this 3 actually have the same roots), celebrate moon related festival.. And remain to using lunar calendar

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fxftw
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 11:01 am

er. i've read this before. even the pics are the same

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msproudappler
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 10:18 am

gd's picture so damn adorable

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detascia
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 11:55 pm
He is so cute in the picture
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chan-rin
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 9:01 am

Haha that's exactly the same article you published last year, but still thank you (again) :P

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Rikki
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 8:48 am

Thank you allkpop for this explanation!

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newway115
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 8:15 am

so i was true, Chuseok is like Mid autumn festival (the date)

GD caught my eye!! cute to the max!

btw i wanna wear hanbok n take a pic someday >< hehehe..

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tan-jia-le
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 7:22 am

wow, its very different compare to chinese moon cake festival

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chubbybunny3698
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 7:19 am

Thank you Allkpop, I never knew about Chuseok until now after seeing lots of Kpop celebrity posting pictures wearing hanbok. This is really helpful <3 [giveaway: G-Dragon's One Of A Kind or BigBang backpack please <3]

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jennifmylove
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 7:08 am

Now I have a better idea of what chuseok is. Thanks Allkpop!!!!   Happy Chuseok everyone!!!

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lurica5566
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 6:15 am

in my country ,  people are in love killing each other 0.0 (weird)  ....  

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leadja2pmforever
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 5:38 am

AKP just had to put that adorable pic of GD in a hanbok.

Ah my Jiyoungie~

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mooseyfate
· Posted September 20, 2013 @ 5:08 am

This is great :) I love how Asia has such a sense of tradition. Chuseok seems like such a great celebration!