In Korea, meaning of ‘Chu Suk’ is best described as ‘Bountiful Abundance’. During this festival, all Koreans are very carefree, happy and joyful. ‘Chu’sok’ is Korean thanksgiving festival. Koreans gather to commemorate their ancestors and honour their memories and spend with families. Harvest moon festival is on 15th day of the 8th lunar month on 24th September. Early morning Koreans perform ritual to worship ancestor and offer food made of new crops. This is done to thank their ancestors for giving them good fortune.
According to legend, ‘Ch’usok’ is believed that it originated during ancient Shilla Kingdom. During this time the month-long weaving festival was held. In order to contest, king divided city into teams and appointed princesses to lead them. The king announced the winner on the day of the eighth full moon. Also, losing team had to provide food, drink, entertainment and party involving whole city followed.
‘Ch’usok’ is celebrated by farmers and city dwellers. Everyone has fun on this day. Women enjoy these kinds of festivals that are very good day for them. They can feel free and not hide themselves when they want go out. Also, men enjoy the fun; however, they have to attend a lot of parties to be happy. Family members gather from all parts of the country and visit their ancestral homes. They visit their ancestor’s graves, bow and give special food made for the festival. They believe that their ancestors would probably be very happy too.
Food Eaten During ‘Ch’usok’:
On this day, Koreans make rice based preparations. Although they eat rice with other foods daily, on Ch’usok Koreans cook foods especially for ancestors. They make rice-cake, ‘Songphyun’, made of rice, beans, sesame seeds and chestnuts.
Koreans eat ‘Songpyon’, full-moon rice cakes stuffed with sesame, beans, chestnuts or Chinese dates. In ‘Ch’usok’, special foods like ‘Khaegangjong’, ‘YakGwa’ and ‘Yultanja’ prepared with rice flour are made. ‘Songpyon’ is made with rice flour and newly harvested grains and fruits. ‘Khaegangjong’ is made with sesame seeds.