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  • 기사등록 2021-10-31 23:24:56
  • 수정 2021-11-01 01:56:21
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 Chuseok is a representative holiday of Korea. Chuseok falls on August 15th of the lunar calendar. It is also called “Hangawi” or “Mid-Autumn Festival”. In the past, when Chuseok arrived, all of the crops and fruits were ripe. Because of this, people made songpyeon with newly harvested rice and prepared lots of food such as newly harvested fruits to give thanks to their ancestors. Also, people enjoyed various traditional games and spent a pleasant day with their families. These traditional customs of Chuseok aren’t common nowadays. Individual leisure has become more important and the holiday is now regarded as just a time for rest. Accordingly, most people prefer going on a trip rather than getting together with family, making food, and enjoying traditional games. The interest in tradition is disappearing more and more. There are lots of people who don’t know what the history and customs of Chuseok are. So why don’t we discuss Chuseok, a representative holiday of Korea?

 

 Chuseok is known to have originated from the Silla Period. Looking at the contents of the Samguksagi, Silla's third King Yuri divided women into two teams. The women took turns from house to house and placed a competition starting the morning of July 16th and continuing until the night of August 14th. On August 15th, which is the last day, they determined the winner. Then the losers provided food to the winner and they enjoyed dancing together. These customs were handed down and became Chuseok. There are various traditional customs for Chuseok. First, people have a memorial ceremony for ancestors on Chuseok morning. They prepare newly harvested fruits, cook rice with newly harvested rice, make songpyeon, and put it all on a table. Second, on Chuseok people visit their ancestral graves. They greet their ancestors and bow reverently after preparing food for a memorial ceremony for the ancestors. Third, people make songpyeon in a half moon shape while praying for a more mature and richer year. Fourth, people do “ganggangsulae,” which is a traditional Korean circle dance play. The last custom that we want to introduce is making a wish while looking at the moon. Even now, lots of people still practice this custom. This custom was created because it was believed that the full moon, which lights the evening night sky on Chuseok, brings a good harvest and fulfills everything.

 

 There are many dishes at Korean families’ tables when they are celebrating Chuseok. They usually set two tables, one for their ancestors and one for the family meal. For the ancestors, each food that is placed is full of meaning. People put out colorful sweets that represent Buddhist color symbolism. Blue symbolizes kindness; yellow, the Middle Path; red, wisdom and virtue; white, purity and emancipation; and black (a color combination), the Truth. Songpyeon, the half-moon shaped rice cake, embodies the desire of a bright future. Vegetable mixes and side dishes are also part of the ancestors’ set. Vegetable roots, stems and leaves represent, respectively, ancestors and foundation, parents and the present, and the future of the family. They are served as side dishes or in pancakes. Dried fish, pollack or cod, is offered to the ancestors as a desire for descendants. The same goes for jujube, a nut which contains only one seed, representing a king and the importance of offspring. Chestnuts are also placed down, and their three seeds symbolize the three ministers of the Joseon Kingdom and the family desire to have successful family members. Another traditional offering is fruits. Apples represents the desire for love and peace, and Korean pears personify wisdom.

 

 There are various traditional games on Chuseok. There are still quite a few people who play them, although there are fewer people than before. Examples of traditional games on Chuseok include ganggangsullae, neolttwigi, tuho nori, and sonorigut. Ganggangsullae is listed as intangible cultural property No. 8, a folk game that is handed down from the coastal area of Jeollanam-do. Ganggangsullae is a game in which two people hold hands and look at each other in a circle and then spin around. Neolttwigi is presumed to be a game that has been handed down since the Goryeo Dynasty. A cylindrical object such as a log is installed in the middle, and a wide rectangular board is placed on top to complete it. It is a game in which a person jumps on both sides of the plank. Tuho nori is a folk game that was often played at court in the past, and it is a game in which a person throws an arrow into a jar and whoever throws the most arrows into the jar wins. Sonorigut was often held to celebrate the year when the farming is good. Sonorigut was played mainly in Gyeonggi-do and Hwanghae-do, and it was played a lot not only on Chuseok but also on the fifteenth day of the New Year according to the lunar calendar.

 

 There are many different aspects with regard to Chuseok food and games as described above. As society has become more individualist, the meaning of the holiday has gradually lost its meaning and customs. COVID has also diminished the meaning of Chuseok over the last two years. Despite this unfortunate situation, Pharos hopes you will have time to meet your family, eat traditional food, and reflect on the meaning of Chuseok during the holidays.



75th Reporter·HAN SONG HEE·shhan0509@hanmail.net

76th Cub reporter·JEONG SEUNG HYE·nora28@naver.com 

International Reporter·Mitchell de Morais Pereira Amanda·amitchellm4s@gmail.com


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