Son Young (Korean festival of Chusuk)
The festival I would like to talk about is Chusuk. It is on the 15th of August in the lunar calendar.
This is the story of why we celebrate Chusuk. It happened when the third king of Shin-ra, Uri, was a king. Two princesses divided the women in the country into two groups and had a weaving competition from the 16th of July to 15th of August. The lost team had to treat the winning team with food and drinks. On the last day of the competition, a woman from the lost team danced and sang ‘Hi-so Hi-so’. This song was so pretty that it became known to the rest of the nation. This day became Chusuk.
Song-Puin. This food is a famous ricecake we eat on Chusuk. Basically it’s made of rise dought with beans, sesame or chestnut inside it. Sometimes it’s cooked with pine leaves to get its scent.
To-ran soup. To-ran is a vegetable full of calcium and fibre. It looks a bit like potatoes. To make to-ran soup, you need to peel off to-ran and boil it with mushrooms and beef.
Gang gang sul le. This is a game where women join with hand to hand to make a big circle, and they sing and dance under the full moon. It starts slowly by walking in a circle but later on, it gets faster by running around.
Tug of war (julda rigi). This is played between two villages. The rope they use is made of straw plaited together by many people. It is known that the winner will have a good harvest (chusu).
Han bok is the traditional clothing of Korea. It’s usually a long skirt with a short top for women and trousers for men. There are different styles according to seasons and events. It is usually made out of cotton and hemp cloth.
What people do
Cutting weeds (bulcho) near ancestors’ grave. The whole family goes to graves of ancestors (go sang) at Chusuk and cuts the weeds which grew all hot summer. Cutting the weeds is showing respect for the dead. If their grave is left not cut, it becomes a laughing stock to others.
Ancestor memorial services (ge sa). In the early morning on Chusuk, relatives meet together at the family home, and some people have the ancestor memorial service to the great-great-grandfather. Korean people who are Christians (like us) meet together in the grandparents’ home and read the Bible, say prayers for the ancestors and have a special meal. The ancestor memorial services on Chusuk is different from that of New Year because on Chusuk we use rice but on New Year we use rice cake soup.