It was my first time to spend thanksgiving in New York. I think thanksgiving is little bit similar with Korean traditional big holiday which is called ‘Chu-Seok’. Chu-Seok is a day of giving thanks to ancestor for getting a good harvest and praying for a good harvest of next year also. ‘Han Ga Wi’ is also other name of Chu-Seok. ‘Han’ means great and ‘Ga Wi’ means middle. If I explain it specifically, it means a great day in the middle of August. In Chu-Seok, people usually meet families and relatives and celebrate Chu-Seok as a festival. That is reason why it is a very important celebration to Koreans. Also, we can get three days off for celebrating Chu-Seok like Thanksgiving.
It is getting harder to spend Chu-Seok with my family since I entered College. When I was young, my family usually visited relatives, had dinner, and talked. Because a number of my relatives are about more than 15 people, Chu-Seok was always big events for our family. Me and my young cousins went out separately, because of those number of people. So we could not stay at home. Fire work was one of our own events in Chu-Seok. This is not a traditional way of celebrating. We bought bunch of fire work and enjoyed it until midnight. As all my cousins and me are growing up, we didn’t meet anymore in Chu-Seok. Because we are all getting busier and we felt that it is hard to meet those number of people all together. So I had been celebrated Chu-Seok with my family until I go to college.
Song Pyun is a traditional food that represents Chu-Seok. It is a rice cake with many different grains and it looks like half-moon. This taste very sweet and chewy, so most of people like to eat Song pyun. When I was in kindergarten, I made Song pyun in first time. Size has to be bigger than quarter, but I made it in nail size. I remember the taste was pretty good. After I grew up, my family usually went travel and that became an way of our celebrating Chu-Seok. At night, I prayed one’s wishes looking at the full moon. The moon in Chu-Seok is brighter and bigger than other days.
It is little bit sad that the traditional way of celebrating Chu-Seok has been changed. I think that is because of individualism. I was wearing Han-Bok, is a traditional cloth in Korea, expecting to meet relatives, but it disappeared as time goes by. If I have chance to spend Chu-Seok in Korea, I would like to visit all my relatives and like to do what I did in past. Also, I really like to cook for my family in American way like Turkey, mashed potato, gravy, pumpkin pie, etc.
Chuseok, known as korean thanks giving day, is the one ot the biggest holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the August in the lunar calendar. Historically, ancient Koreans believed that their new harvests in the fall season were offered by their ancestors, so they prepared food to pay respects to their ancestors. It meant Chuseck clearly originated from a worship ritual. Tranditionally, as paying respects the spirits of their ancestors, in modern South Korea, Koreans visits their hometowns and all family get together to and perform ancestral worship rituals early in the morning.
In case of my family during Chuseck, we spent five days to prepare Korean tranditional food, such as Songpyeon, japchae, bulgogi and fruits,for our whole family and performing a worship ritual. Especieally, women have to prepare every food, so my mother and grandmother usually busy that time. I think that the one of the difficult and delicate Korean tranditionally foods to make might be Songpyeon, because these are made by all handmade and our family usually make it approxially two handread for our big family member. It take two days and a lot of time. The most important thing is that we have to make it with love and care. As we known Songyeon, a crescent-shaped rice cake which is steamed upon pine needles, is the one of the most famous foods during the Chuseok holiday. Songpyeon have some kinds of fillings, such as sesame seeds and honey, chestnut paste into the half moon shape of rice cakes. It is steamed above pine needles that gives them the smell of fresh pine leafs. As the saying goes,”if woman make songpyeon with a pretty half-moon-shape, she will be have a pretty baby.”; my mother always have an impact on making it with love and care and a beautiful shape to me. But, when I was a little girl, my songpyon always ended up looking like mandoo. That is the most interesting part of making them into various shapes with the participation of our family members allowing to talk each other. Every food has to be done and prepared on a table until early in the morning,on Chuseck. Only man like my father and son allow to perform ancestral worship rituals. After performing rituals, our family sit around the table and share and eat Korean tranditional food.
As Koreans are getting to be Christian more and more, a lot of Korean familys doesn’t follow the having worship rituals anymore because it mean to belive another gods like their ancestors. Thus, women who in this kind of famliy doesn’t need to prepare the Korean tranditional food like songyeon. The process of making songyeon is difficult and especially Most Korean women in modern times have jobs, so it could be convience for them. But, in my opinion, we have to keep our trandition culture, because I have really good family memory with my mother, grandmother and cousins during making songyeon. Also, it is the only time to meet and get along with my big family members.
Koreans also commemorate harvesting in fall just like ‘Thanksgiving day’. It is called ‘Chuseok’. Even though it is earlier than Thanksgiving, I think meaning of ‘Chuseok’ is exactly same as Thanksgiving. Actually, I enjoyed this Thanksgiving without turkey, but I ate Korean rice cake, Songpyun with my Korean friends. I bought Songpyun in K-town, and I ate that in my friend’s place. If I were in Korea, I would make Songpyun myself with my family, but I thought it was waste of time to make Songpyun in NY because it is not very simple process.
By the way, In order to make Songpyun, we need rice powder to make dough. After making dough with rice powder, we can put beans or honey in small piece of the dough. In my case, I like honey much more than bean. Anyway, after then, we should make a fan shape that is beautiful because of Korean’s common saying that Someone who make beautiful Songpyun will have beautiful daughter. Now, just get steaming Songpyuns with some pine leaves to make them smell good. Then Songpyun is done.
I think this Thanksgiving was so boring because I had no plan for the holiday, and I had too much homework. I hope next Thanksgiving to be memorable.
Songkran festival is one of the most celebrated festival in Thailand that I love. It is also as the New Year celebrate for Thais, which it starts on April 13th through 15th, 16th, or depending on each region in Thailand. Every year we celebrate this festival with water because the festival does happen in the summer time. Everyone gets soaking wet and enjoys with throwing water back to each other. In the past, mostly Thais dressed up with Thai traditional costume and went to a temple for good luck through the whole year.The foods that we serve in the traditional day depend on which part and region of Thailand. Khao Chae; rice is soaked in jasmine water, Pad Thai noodles, Gang Keaw Wahn Gai; chicken with green curry, Kanom Tom; sticky rice bean balls with pyramid shaped desert, and Kanom Krok; coconut rice pancakes. Moreover, the day of the 13th is the day that people go to a temple for good bless from Buddha and it is the day that family members are gathered together. Young people rinse some pour water that mixed with Thai fragrance into the hands of the elders and parents that they respect. Normally, my family goes to meet my grandmother while seeking good bless from her and have dinner together. During the day, my grand mother loves to cook Thais favorite food that I love such as Hanhom Jeen Nam Prik ( spaghetti or rice flour noodles), Goong Ohp Yoon Sehn ( shrimps in Chinese Clay pot), Pad Gra Pao Moo ( pork sliced sauteed with tThai basil), Tom Yum Kung, Sa Koo Sai Moo (Tapioca pearls dumpling with pork stuff),and even more. The foods are very spacial because my grand mom cooks by her recipe that it has passed from my great great grand mom through generation by generation. However, my mom doesn’t cook so well like my grand mom does. On the following days of the festival, I usually go to the North region of Thailand ( Chaing Mai) for throwing water and celebrating Thais New Year with my friends, which it is the most popular city for Songkarn celebration. I also plane to continue to celebrate this holiday throughout my life. Unfortunately, last Songkarn period, I wasn’t in my home country. As a result, I went to Thai temple in New Jersey to pray and give food to monks, which it also was the place that one of my friend took for meditation. Nowadays, not only Songkarn festival has become a popular celebration for Thais but also for foreigners and an additional reason for many to visit Thailand.
“Korean Thanksgiving” has been called “Chuseok.” I think it’s similar to Western Thanksgiving, as far as I know. Chuseok for me is the same as Thanksgiving when I was growing up. My mother and grandmother set the Korean Thanksgiving table with making rice cakes and traditional Korean sweets and cookies. My dad, for the most part, watched TV. By the way, Chuseok, known as Hangawi in Korea, is one of the most important holidays in Korea and a major harvest festival. It is always celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which falls on September. Koreans celebrate the holiday by holding ancestral rites and spend time eating traditional food and drinking with the family. We spend good time together by playing traditional game. Also, by experiencing traditional custom, people acquaint traditional culture and affection for their family and country.
Actually, it’s the time of the year when millions of Koreans go back to their hometowns to pay respect to their ancestors and celebrate the holidays with the family. This autumn homecoming is also well known to cause major traffic jams along the highways and crowded trains throughout the country.
The majority of Koreans leave their cities during the three-day holiday, most department stores, restaurants and theaters in Korea are closed. However, there are some people like my family who are unlucky or lucky, depending on your point of view, enough to be stuck in Seoul for the holidays. Nowadays, a lot of the young people do not go back to their hometown. A lot of them choose to stay in Seoul and meet friends and I’m another.
There is the case for my family on Chuseok. A typical picture of Chuseok is a scene in which men are gathered around the television or talking over a game of cards, with women chatting in the kitchen preparing food, a Korean-style pancake with wide variety of added ingredients. Usually my father watches TV, but a few years ago, he said that he would like to do something special could be enjoyed by whole family members , so I told him to play the board game “Monopoly.” Now, for my family, playing the game has become a special tradition on Chuseok. My family loves to play it. This is the undisputed King of board games and the one my family will never get tired of and how I wish I invented it. Even more fun when there is more of any other relative gatherings over the holiday. You guys definitely need time to play this with family on Chuseok. For me, personally, Monopoly is more than a money game. It’s very interesting game because It requires a lot of strategy and quick thinking. I think my family will keep playing it on the holiday.
The holiday we have in my country similar to Thanksgiving is called Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival. On this holiday we take one day off in Taiwan. In this holiday all family members will have dinner together. It’s a holiday that everyone gets together to celebrate. The Moon Festival is on August 15th. It’s the day that the moon turns to be full moon so it resembles consummation, which means no one can be absent on this day. Sometimes young people might celebrate it with friends but over all people usually celebrate it with families. I know there are some places also celebrate this holiday such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea but what we do are slightly different. Basically it’s all the same in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. We all eat mooncake (which is round or rectangular pastries and is made from lotus seed paste and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. It has several flavors depends on the area.) and pomelo. But Taiwanese usually have BBQ party on this day. There’s no rule that we have to do BBQ on this day, we Taiwanese simply just love the way we work together to prepare a nice meal. So BBQ became one of our traditions.
Unfortunately my family are lazy bones so we don’t do BBQ ourselves we usually just go out and have dinner together. But sometimes I do BBQ with my friends. We start to prepare the ingredients one day before the holiday and we buy charcoal, tinfoil and every tool to make BBQ. Though my family do nothing special on this day my dad always bring mooncake back though we can’t eat too much of it since it contains lots of cholesterol. I like Moon Festival because I can see everyone I care on this holiday. Though I’m in New York now and can’t go back to Taipei on this day I still had BBQ with my Taiwanese friends this year.
Chuseok is the biggest holyday in Korea. It will be easy to understand if I say it is Thanksgiving Day in Korea. Difference between Chuseok and Thanksgiving Day is we eat different food instead of turkey. SongPyeon is one representative food that we eat on the holiday. It might be easy to understand if you imagine dumpling. Shape of Songpyeon and dumpling is same. The way how we cook it is difference. Songpyeon is steamed dumpling. Not fried. Maybe, you might wonder that why people steam it. The reason is people think the foods that we eat on Chuseok should be special because those are the foods that we eat to thank to god.
Our family is not exception. Every member of our family gather in one place and make Songpeon together. With steamed Sonpyeon, we continue our conversation because we have not talked for long time. We also play game, Yut. This is how we relieve our stress by laughing and yelling. After that day, we visit grandfather’s grave. We cut the weeds around grandfather’s grave and plant flowers that grandfather liked, and we pray for him for several minutes. After we come back from the grave, we have dinner and memorize grandfather. That is the last thing what our family members do. However, sometimes, my younger cousins stay and hang out with me. I like Chuseok because the holiday makes us gather. It is usually hard to meet together because they live too far or they are too busy to meet. Also, I feel importance of family by meeting them.