CHUSEOK, OR Han-ka-wi, known as the Korean Thanksgiving Day, is one of the biggest national holidays of the year in Korea. During this three-day-holiday, family members traditionally gathered around to celebrate the year’s bountiful harvest. Even though many people no longer farm, this tradition of celebrating Chuseok is still practiced today. This year is quite special because Chuseok holiday is especially long, around ten days, due to two weekends and national temporary holidays. Let us see how our fellow students are spending their time during this extremely long break.
Q. What are your plans for this Chuseok? Are you heading back home?
Lee Da-yeon (Soph., Global Leadership Div.): For this Chuseok, I will be going back to my family in Guangzhou, China. Because I had to quickly come back to Korea during summer vacation, I decided to go back home. I lived in Guangzhou for more than ten years. I was schooled there until coming to Yonsei University. My parents and my little brother still live there so I go back home whenever I can.
Ryu Jae-bum (Sr., Dep. Of Astronomy): I really want to go on an overseas trip during this ten-day holiday period. This year’s Chuseok is much longer than any other previous national holidays. However, I am hesitant to go anywhere because of the upcoming mid-term exams and my final American Football match which is scheduled right after the break. Fortunately, all my family members live in Seoul. Therefore, I will be peacefully resting at home while many people are stuck in heavy traffic.
Yi Seo-hyun (Jr., International Studies major, UIC): I’m planning to travel to Gangwon-do with my family this time. Since this year’s Chuseok is almost ten days long, I want to make the best out of my time by traveling with my family. I’m also planning to spend some days camping and eating barbecue with my friends. Both of my mom and dad’s families are at Seoul, so I’ll be staying within the city most of the time. Sometimes, it’s interesting to watch all the people leave the city and merge into the congested roads as they head back home. Then it feels strange to watch the empty roads of Seoul.
Park Misha (Soph., Global Leadership Div.): As a Russian Korean, I usually spend Chuseok at home. But this year, I want to travel with my friends or meet my Korean relatives in Jinju. My parents are currently in Russia so I will have to visit them myself.
Lee Sun-woo (Fresh., Dept. of Mech. Engin.): I will be heading to Busan to visit my grandparents with my family. My grandparents have lived there all their lives. Our family is also planning to go on a short trip.
Q. What are you most or least excited for?
Lee Da-yeon (Soph., Global Leadership Div.): The Incheon airport is always packed with people going abroad during this season. Although the long lines can irritate me, they can also get me excited. My biggest excitement for this Chuseok is enjoying my mom’s delicious cooking. No matter how many times I devour her meals, I never get sick of it. That’s how good her cooking is. If I had to choose something I’m least excited about, it would be the humidity.
Ryu Jae-bum (Sr, Dep. Of Astronomy): The perks of Chuseok will be the pleasant dinner with my whole family and having some catch-up time. It is hard to have everyone together as we are all very busy with our own lives. What I am least excited for are the nitpicks I am expected to listen to. I am also worried about the allurement of the huge amount of dishes because I have to get ready for my upcoming matches.
Yi Seo-hyun (Jr., International Studies major, UIC): I’m particularly looking forward to camping with my friends. We already borrowed a car and rented a caravan for a day. I hope the weather can help us make the best memories.
Park Misha (Soph. Global Leadership Div.): I am excited about not going to classes for a week. The least favorite thing about Chuseok is that if you want to travel around Korea, or simply want to go abroad, everything is so expensive and busy. Staying at home with relatives is the best option these days.
Lee Sun-woo (Fresh., Dept. of Mech. Engin.): I'm definitely looking forward to the food the most. Traditionally, we make the Korean ricecake─Songpyeon, roast beef, and Korean beef soup. But it's a shame only the women in our family cook all these dishes. The preference shown towards sons is a commonly debated issue whenever I visit my grandparents.
Q. Does your family have a special ritual?
Lee Da-yeon (Soph. Global Leadership Div.): Our family has the ritual of holding memorial rites every national holiday. During Chuseok or New Years, my mom makes a lot of dishes. I am excited for the upcoming dinner after the event.
Ryu, Jae-bum (Sr, Dep. Of Astronomy): In my family, we always play traditional Korean games such as Yun-no-ri, and Hwa-tu. They are super fun!
Yi Seo-hyun (Jr., International Studies major, UIC): We do not always celebrate a special ritual during traditional holidays. We tend to focus more on family gatherings, where we can spend time talking and sharing what we have done recently. I have been spending most of the time out of the country, so I do not have any special events to remember about Chuseok. But because I have the opportunity to spend the holiday with my families this time, I am looking forward to this year’s Chuseok.
Park Misha (Soph. Global Leadership Div.): When I am back home, we hold memorial rites for our ancestors.
Lee Sun-woo (Fresh., Dept. of Mech. Engin.): Every Chuseok, we hold memorial rites in the morning. Women in our big family are in charge of cooking food for this service, while men discuss the recent news or plans for the future.
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It seems like the majority of people are looking forward to meeting their families. There are not many occasions where all family members come together. Taking place only a month after the start of school, this coming Chuseok will be a good short stress-releasing break for everyone!