Chuseok is a Korean thanksgiving day. Chuseok is one of Korea’s three major holidays, along with Seollal (New Year’s Day) and Dano (the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar year) and is also referred to as Hangawi (한가위). Chuseok is the time when we eat songpyeon and visit our ancestors’ graves with the whole family. My family usually visit my dad’s grandpa’s grave and we stay there for a while.

I have to spend my chuseok in the US this year and I am very upset that I won’t get to be with my whole family this year. I love chuseok because it is a time to spend time with family and learn more about the family history. We also bake the songpyeon. When we bake the songpyeon, the first thing my grandma does is makes the rice flour mixture. Then she makes the honey and nut mixture for the inside of the songpyeon. The inside is my favorite part and it is the best when the inside is filled with the honey and nut mixture. Then my cousins and I make a dumpling shape of a songpyeon, filling the inside with honey and nut. It is really good and it has more flavor if you put some green leaves into because it has that deep smell. When we were younger, we used to make songpyeons in the shape of cars and hearts and different shapes instead of the traditional way. It always turned out awful because it wouldn’t bake properly and it was so thick. Now I bake it more of the traditional way because I want to make it taste good and there is a saying that if a girl bakes songpyeon well the girl is a real lady. 

After making the songpyeon, we busily prepare the food. We make rice pancakes with lots of vegetables in it. We also make a lot of rice and food so that we can all enjoy the traditional holiday. Of course, not all families enjoy Chuseok this way, such as my mom’s side of our ancestral parents. We never go to their graves, but we make songpyeon and lots of other food to eat and celebrate. 

In the US, my family eat turkey and eat shrimp with my mom’s special filling. The shrimp is something I look forward to every year because it is so darn amazing. Then we have a Korean Kalbi soup with chicken, mashed potatoes and lots of cake.  Sometimes, we visit different places to visit old family friends. Last year, we went to Canada to visit family friends and it was so much fun because I was able to hang out with my childhood friends. Chuseok is definitely one of my favorite holidays right after Christmas and my birthday. In Korea, they also have a lot of TV celebrities come out wearing the traditional Korean clothes and they dance and celebrate. It always makes me happy when I am watching the Korean TV because they have lots of festivals and they show people getting together.  

Chuseok is a time to have family quality time and maybe this year, other people can celebrate Chuseok or Thanksgiving the Korean way. Even though called different names, Chuseok and the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States each celebrate our history of the country and get together as a family. It sometimes made me unhappy that I had to spend my Chuseok here in the US but now I like it both ways. I hope people get to know more about the Korean holidays. Happy Chuseok!