Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving Day

Written by Eric

September 2013

Chuseok is probably the most important holiday of the year in Korea. Often referred to as Korean Thanksgiving Day, it is celebrated on the 15th day of the eight lunar month (usually mid-September), but the holiday period actually lasts for three days in total – including the day before and after Chuseok. During that period, millions of Koreans go back to their hometowns to gather with their families, share food and give thanks to their ancestors. 

Koreans like to celebrate Chuseok by making special foods, such as a songpyeon, a type of rice cake made with new rice. On the eve of Chuseok, family members gather to make songpyeon together, illustrating the importance of family in Korean society.

On the morning of Chuseok Day, foods prepared with the year’s fresh harvest are set out to give thanks to ancestors through a memorial service called Charye. Afterwards, families visit their ancestors’ graves and engage in Beolcho, a ritual of clearing the weeds that may have grown up over the burial mound.