We have many holidays in a year in Korea. There are memorial days, celebration days and thankful days. Among them, we have the two biggest holidays. One of them is "Chusok".
Chusok is in September. We have it in the fall with the full moon. "Borum", the pure Korean name( many Korean names are made from the Chinese characters, thus, 'pure' means the name is made from only Korean-'Hangul', not containing any other language), means the full moon that appears on the fifteenth day every month. It's not stable but changable every year because it follows the lunar calender.
Chusok is the day we have to thank about getting our harvest to our ancestors. We get a lot of food, fruits and rice in autumn. Our ancestors believed thier ancestors in sky helped them to get much crop. They thought they harvested large crop owing to their ancestor's hopeness and they could spend the winter warmly. and easily. This is the legend of Chusok.
Like our ancestors, we can feel richness and prosperity in viewing yellow field of the autumn. Thus, the another pretty name of Chusok , "Hankawe" , experesses prosperity and richness with " full " moon and large harvest. So, we usually say, " Please, give as much as Hankawe, not more, not less. " Prosperity as much as we don't desire any more, we can find in this the meaning of Chusok. In Chusok's holidays, we make special food, we wear traditional clothes and we can enjoy games or dance with our neighbors.
First, we eat rice cakes in Chusok. The rice cake, "Songphyun" is made of rice, beans, sesame seeds, and chestnuts. After making the form of a half moon with the rice which was grond and made sticky, we put the sesame seeds with honey , beans or chestnuts inside it. Then, we steam this cake. Because each different stuff - beans, chestnut or sesame seeds- is put inside the cake, we can enjoy the different tasty in every Songphyun. The house is full of smiles and pleasure with making the Songphyun.
In addition, we wear "Hanbok" in Chusok. Hanbok is very neat and beautiful. As traditional clothes, we are dressed in Hanbok on an niversary day, celebration days and holidays like New year's day and Chusok. In Chusok, wearing Hanbok, we bow to our ancestors. It's called "Charae". That is a kind of ceremony to respect their souls. We set many dishes on the table in the meaning that our ancestors come and eat. It's the traditional custom, many people of the new generation are changing this custom according to their conditions, times and their religion while keeping the meaning of Charae and Chusok.
Futhermore, our ancestors enjoyed dancing under the full moon with their families and neighbors. They made a large circle and circled hand in hand with singing the song. " Kang kang suwalrae" is the name of dance and song. They made the dance fast and slowly according to the rhythm of song. Although we don't always dance every Chusok nowdays, it is the wonderful event that not only has been handed down traditionally, but also can be enjoyed for harmony and friendship owing to holding hands and circling.
I think Korea is a nation which has unique traditions and customs. Above all, unlike other memorial days, Chusok has old history and important meaning. Because Chusok is the celearation and thankful day , it must be kept forever. I'm sure that "Chusok" is the very beautiful day with the brightest full moon to bless happiness.