The QiRanger Adventures

Happy Thanksgiving!

with 12 comments

Say "Kimchi"!

Hearing me say that in September might sound strange if you’re from the United States, but rest assured, I haven’t lost my mind. October 2nd marks the start of the Korean “Thanksgiving”  known as Chuseok (추석). It’s a three day harvest festival that begins on the fifteenth day of the eight month of the lunar calendar.

Like other fall harvest festivals, it often falls around the Autumn Equinox. The holiday is traditionally celebrated with families gathering in their hometowns. This usually requires many people to travel around the peninsula, so if you thought traveling during the US Thanksgiving was bad… you have no idea how bad it is here. Just imagine one-quarter to half of the 49 million people on the roads, trains, buses, and planes going home for a day – all while keeping in mind that Korea is only 38,622 square miles (100,140 sq. km).

During Chuseok (추석), families will often tend to their ancestors’ graves and honor their memories. This is all done while celebrating the family unit. Furthermore, gifts are also exchanged at this time. When I say gifts, I mean gifts. They are something of value and in most circles is it considered rude if you do not provide a gift of subsequent value. This doesn’t mean that one needs to take out a loan, but that you should give the most expensive gift you can afford.

Fruits

Fruits

I’m sure that many in the west think that this would be a great time to get that new iPod or Xbox, but you’d be wrong. The gifts are usually expensive boxed sets of fruit, oils, meat, or liquor. For example, one might go to a market on a regular day and pick up a few apples for W5,000; however, during Chuseok (추석), the apples are twice as large, better tasting, and individually wrapped. As such their cost may rise to W50,000.

Can you taste the extra W45,000???

Yes you can. It is amazing how good the fruit that is sold during Chuseok (추석) tastes.

SPAM (스팜)

SPAM (스팜)

The alcohol gift sets are similar to what one would find in the US around Christmas at Costco and Sam’s Club. Probably the most interesting gift set I see is those devoted to that fascinating meat product SPAM (스팜). When I first came to Korea, I never understood the fascination with SPAM, but people really love it and there are even store brand versions (I’m particularly fond of the Richman Meat with Green Tea).

With this being such a major holiday, most places are going to be shut down. So I’ll get a chance to have a relaxing four-day weekend in Dongtan (maybe I can finally get that Central Park video made?). I plan on lounging around tomorrow at the sauna and then going for some screen golf (스크린 골프) Thursday night with a friend. Friday has me working on the documentary project. Saturday will be another relaxing day, with perhaps a trip out to Lotte World. Sunday will be filled with lots of food at a friend’s place. Which reminds me…. I need to figure out what to bring since my initial idea seems to have fallen through.

I hope you all have a great holiday!

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Written by Steve Miller

September 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm

12 Responses

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  1. 페이스 북에서 자주 올라오는 밀러씨의 글을 읽어봅니다. 매우 다양하고 좋은 내용들이 많이 있습니다. 저는 기(Qi) 탐방기를 읽으면서 때로는 한국인인 나 조차도 접해볼수 없었던 많은 것들을 볼 수 있었습니다. 특히나 이번 추석에 관련된 내용에 대해서는 정말 소감을 안 쓸래야 안 쓸수가 없게 만드는 내용입니다. 다음에 더욱 재미난 내용들을 기대해 봅니다.

    sometimes I saw your Qiranger writting on facebook. it is good for me that’s why I can read diverse information. and sometimes your writting gave me a new information I have ever knew even korean. especially. this time’s writting is very impressived. that made me have to reply my feeling after read your writting. I hope next time when I watch more happy and funny writting.

    ps : sorry that my english not enough well to write all of my feeling and can expression my thinking. it is that’s why I wrote in korean at first.

    Julio JungIn Hong

    September 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    • Thanks for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it. Thanks for also including the 한가위 in your second reply. I was originally going to put in the original name of the festival, but decided on taking the post in another direction. For those wondering:

      한가위 (Hangawi):

      Historically and according to popular belief, Chuseok (추석) originates from Gabae (가배) started during the reign of the third king of the kingdom of pupil (57 BC – AD 935), when it was a month-long weaving contest between two teams. Come the day of Gabae (가배), the team that had woven more cloth had won and was treated to a feast by the losing team.

      Steve

      September 30, 2009 at 5:53 pm

  2. Oh~ I forgot one thing for you

    즐거운 한가위(추석) 보내세요. Happy Han_Ga_Wee(it is another calling of ‘Chuseouk’)

    Julio JungIn Hong

    September 30, 2009 at 5:28 pm

  3. Wow! Getting good at Korean! I’m impressed. That holiday is like the Obon festival in August. Time to just stay home then…. Enjoy your holidays!

    jyankee

    October 1, 2009 at 12:44 am

    • Not good enough… but I’ll get there!

      Steve

      October 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm

      • It would be awesome if we can talk in Korean.
        On top of that, someday you might host a talk show at a Korean TV station. 😉

        galaxychorus

        October 1, 2009 at 12:28 pm

  4. Have a wonderful holiday!!! ❤

    Jo

    October 1, 2009 at 5:18 am

  5. what a great site and informative posts, I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

    REIT 🙂

    Online Stock Trading

    October 7, 2009 at 3:30 am

  6. Great Blog!……There’s always something here to make me laugh…Keep doing what ya do 🙂

    Discoking

    March 6, 2010 at 7:36 am


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