Happy Chuseok (추석)! Roughly translated as “Autumn eve,” Chuseok is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in both North and South Korea. It’s celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar on the full moon (at the Autumn equinox). Westerners understand Chuseok as “Korean Thanksgiving,” and although its history is vastly different, there are some elements that coincide with the North American holiday.
For one, Chuseok is a celebration of the harvest, and includes special foods that have various significations. Also, like the western holiday, Chuseok invites introspection and the practice of gratitude, particularly for the blessings of ancestors to a successful harvest. Families in Korea gather together at their hometowns and visit ancestral gravesites to pay respects during this celebration. People in Korea also exchange (sometimes extravagant) gifts of food and household necessities, as well as play folk games. Wikipedia gives a decent primer on Chuseok, here.
This year, Chuseok falls on September 21, but it is observed over a three-day period (from 20-22). At this time of year, I think back fondly to more than a decade ago, when I was new in Korea and learning about the culture. At that first Chuseok, I was invited to spend the day with a colleague’s family, who graciously allowed me to partake in their traditions. You can see the traditional display of special foods of the season, which are arranged in a significant order. One of the most important foods is a moon-shaped rice cake called songpyeon (송편), which is a delicacy that can contain ingredients such as sesame seeds, black beans, mung beans, pine nut, cinnamon, walnut, chestnut, jujube, and honey. I’ve shared a few old photos here (please excuse the pre-smartphone photo quality).
Lastly, just a quick update on the Mama Bear cardigan that I’m working up with 100% Tibetan yak yarn. It’s taking on a nice weight and drape as it grows in size. I love this yarn – I might spring for more of it, in cream or beige.
I’ve decided not to add buttons to this cardi, even though the pattern allows for it. I prefer it to be a bit more simple. So far, I’m happy with how it is turning out, although I would change a few small things if I could go back and start again; namely, I would make it even wider, and I would find a way to add pockets (unfortunately, it’s too late now to mastermind that one).
Thanks for popping in! I hope all are safe and in good health. See you again soon with more WIP updates.