I usually become a monster when I don't get to sleep enough. Usually my shortage in sleep is because somebody wakes me up in the early, early morning. It was the same when I was a young child. I was a monster even then, too. When I was a child, my mom woke me up super early twice a year. Of course I was always upset in those mornings. But, in one of those sleepy mornings, I got merry very soon because I could smell something delicious everywhere in the house. And that was the Chuseok morning.
Chuseok is one of the biggest and the longest holiday in Korea. It is a similar holiday to Thanksgiving Day. It is in the midst of autumn, usually in October, celebrating the harvest of good crops they have grown for a year. Furthermore, there are a few rituals to thank our ancestors that they helped us to harvest good crops. Also, every relative gathers and enjoy family time in Chuseok.
Since Chuseok is a holiday celebrating the fair harvest, people enjoy a lot of delicacy during the holiday. However, if I should choose the only one food that represents the Chuseok, I would definitely say Songpyeon. Songpyeon is a food similar to dumpling, but the difference is various colors like green, pink, and yellow. In addition, the ingredients of the filling are mashed sesame or chestnut. Moreover, every family member gets around the table and chat when they make Songpyeon. So Songpyeon offers not only an entertaining cooking experience but also a great opportunity to catch up each other and get close.
After the preparation, the ritual is waiting for people. The ritual is called Charye. Koreans believe the dead ancestors' spirits come back to home when they do Charye. So to bring them home, people put up the screen, bring the photo of their ancestors and put all those delicacy on the table. When everything is ready, every person in the room bows twice with thanks and respect, starting from the eldest person. They believe the spirits taste all the delicacy while they are bowing. When Charye is over, people are finally allowed to have all those delicious foods.
Chuseok one of the favorite holidays of Korea, because there are lots of delicious dishes including Songpyeon and families can share their hearts while preparing and having a ritual. Although some preparation might take some time and energy of everyone, it is a very meaningful and heartwarming holiday.