Chuseok

Happy Thanksgiving-Korean-Style/Harvest Moon Festival!
Or, just happy Chuseok.

So it’s my 4th Chuseok so far. I think they get easier and easier as time goes on. It’s pretty much like American Thanksgiving where all the stores close, everyone goes to a relative’s house for a day or more, and make lots of food for the holiday, and just eat. We don’t have a ceremony like Koreans but Thanksgiving Day football is a ceremony, right?

This year a lot of people complained because Chuseok was on a Monday. In Korea, usually the day before and the day after are public holidays and nobody works. But since the day before landed on a Sunday, companies were given the option of either remaining closed on Wednesday or opening. The government and large businesses would close, but some opened. My company opened. Darn you….

I was speaking with some of my Korean friends and asking them how they would be spending the holiday. As I stay here longer and longer, more and more people seem to be not celebrating this day. There are a lot of reasons behind this. Most of the people I’ve asked have said it’s because they’re Christian. It’s like celebrating the Winter Solstice but being a Christian. It’s a pagan holiday to them, giving offerings to the harvest gods for a good harvest. But as more of Korea becomes Christian, people find this ceremony heretical and against the teachings of God. I get somewhat annoyed at this because the holiday has lost that pagan feeling and has become more of a time about remembering one’s old family members and ancestors. But regardless, people don’t want to offend God and so they refuse to do the holiday.

Another reason is to avoid the travel and the cooking. I feel as though Koreans complain just a little bit more than my mother ever did about Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking. My mother didn’t like it, but in a way, she took pride in it after she got the table ready. So people just want to avoid the stress altogether and just go on a vacation. Some people in America do that but I kinda like the idea of family assemblying at someone’s house and having a giant dinner together. And having these traditions together. It gives reason to living. Otherwise, why live? How else do you help make time go by and be more exciting? It’s quite difficult otherwise, I believe. Life just feels like a continuous mess. I really enjoy holidays. I think they are necessary. I just wish Koreans would see the need to keep their heritage and culture alive… They will regret it later.

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