Monday, October 16, 2006

Chuseok

Chuseok is a major holiday in Korea. For me it is in close comparison to Thanks-giving.

Nowadays, on Chuseok there is a mass exodus of Koreans returning to their hometowns, since hometowns are not only where one was born and raised, but where the spirits of one's ancestors are enshrined. The city of Seoul was lonesome. Shops were closed and I did not find myself pushing and shoving through the mass crowds of people. I had a seat on the subway and I was always first in line. The liveliness of the big city had died; is this how life in Regina will be when I get back?

During Chusoek, people perform ancestral worship rituals early in the morning. They often visit the tombs of immediate ancestors to trim plants and clean the area around the tomb, and offer food, drink, and crops to their ancestors. Harvest crops are attributed to the blessing of ancestors, and Chuseok offers Koreans a unique opportunity to refresh their memory and gratitude to their ancestors.

One of the major foods prepared and eaten during the Chuseok holiday is Songpyeon (송편), a crescent-shaped rice cake which is steamed upon pine needles. Sounds yummy doesn't it? On the last day of classes before this holiday I had the opportunity to to make some Songpyeon with my students.

Sorry NO pics for this post b/c they wouldn't upload...........

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