Merry Chusok to all!
This weekend marks the three-day Korean holiday of Chusok. To compare the holiday in importance and festivity, this is the Korean holiday most similar to Christmas in the United States. I mean this in terms of the holiday atmosphere.
Last week we made a quick trip to E-Mart (the Korean version of WalMart) to do a little shopping. The store was filled with lovely women in beautiful traditional hanbok:Each of these lovely ladies was showcasing different gift packages to give for Chusok. Similar to the American Hickory Farms packages or other gift baskets, there were packages of instant coffee, packages of Spam with Olive Oil, fruits, mushrooms and traditional cookies.
For Chusok, families will all travel to the home of the oldest relative to celebrate. This is a holiday for honoring ancestors and spending time together as a family. The city of Seoul will be virtually deserted, as most older Koreans live in the small villages outside of the big city. Most businesses will be closed for the duration.
It is said to avoid traveling during Chusok. While it may normally take an hour to get to Seoul from Songtan, over Chusok it can take five, six or eight hours!