Chuseok and Thanksgiving Day


Thanksgiving is one of the favorite holidays that Americans are looking forward to celebrate. Family members reunite, catch up on the latest news and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. Christmas is also the important occasion for Americans but Thanksgiving is especially favored because of the food.

In the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday was originated from a 1621 celebration at Plymouth. Thanksgiving was celebrated with Native Americans who taught Pilgrims how to farm and harvest. I have spent several Thanksgiving holidays in the states and the most memorable part of Thanksgiving was definitely the good food.

On my very first Thanksgiving holiday, I was excited to taste many different dishes I have never seen before such as a large roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cornbread and so on. After main dishes were served, delicious desserts were followed. My favorite desserts were apple cider and pecan pie. What I really liked about Thanksgiving was the warm feeling I got after having conversations with people and enjoying good home-made food.

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, Koreans celebrate Chuseok. Similar to Thanksgiving, Chuseok was originated from giving thanks to the nature for a good harvest of the year. However, there are definitely differences that come from different history, tradition, culture and background.

In 2012, Chuseok fell on September 30th. The main difference between Korean and American Thanksgiving is Charye, the memorial service held for appreciating ancestors who have protected and looked after descendants.

We go visit our ancestors’ graves in the morning of Chuseok called Seongmyo and engage in Beolcho, a ritual of clearing the weeds over the burial mound. The dishes representing Chuseok are Songpyeon (a rice cake shaped into half-moons, steamed upon pine needles), Jeon (pieces of fresh meat dipped in egg and pan-fried), Japchae, Bulgogi and fruits. People in today are busy and barely play folk games any more. However, people in the past used to play a variety of folk games such as Ssireum (Korean wrestling) and Ganggangsullae dance.

After seven years of spending Thanksgiving in the sates, I finally got to spend Chuseok with my family and relatives this time. I felt so cozy to be home, spend time with my loved ones. However, I think I will be missing Thanksgiving that is coming up soon in the states. After all, Chuseok and Thanksgiving are both surely the great time for family members to gather for bonding. For those who are in the states, Happy Thanksgiving!

Yoon Ji Hong / Intern Reporter