Unique Customs and Holidays of Korea


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Yut-nori, a traditional Korean game

Just like all the other countries in the world, Korea has its own unique culture, which is comprised of many customs and holidays. These customs and holidays have been celebrated for hundreds of years and are very important to modern day Koreans. From eating customs and manners to Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), Korea’s culture is fun and intriguing to all.

In Korea, there are many manners and customs that need to be upheld when dining. The first custom is waiting to take a seat until the oldest person sits down first. It is also polite to say thank you for the meal, before eating and once more after being done. Another custom is for the younger people to eat after the elders start. Unlike other Asian cultures, bowls should not be held and should always be on the table. Not wasting food is also big in Korean table manners. Everyone should finish what they touch and all food that is touched should be eaten.

One special holiday that only Koreans celebrate is Chuseok. Chuseok is a holiday that celebrates good harvest and abundance, so many describe Chuseok as the Korean Thanksgiving. This holiday is three days long and it starts on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Chuseok has been celebrated for over 2,000 years and is a time for families to meet and spend time with one another. One fact about Chuseok is that the traffic is very bad because there are thousands of people who are heading to their hometowns and families.

Just like any other holiday, Chuseok has its own special foods and activities. One popular thing that Koreans do is to honor ancestors who have passed away through a ceremony called charye. In charye people offer foods such as alcohol, rice, and songpyeon. Songpyeon is a rice cake made in the shape of the half moon. They are stuffed with red bean, sesame seeds, sugar, and honey. There are also many other activities and games that are done during Chuseok, such as  Yut nori, jegichagi, and ganggangsullae. Yut nori  is a traditional game, which involves teams throwing playing sticks and moving playing pieces from start to end. Jegichagi is like hacky sack, but where the player can only use their feet to keep the jegi up. Ganggangsullae is a traditional dance where women in hanboks (traditional clothing) dance in circles. This was usually done under the moon, but now it is done in performances.

All in all, these customs and holidays are what makes Korea special. These customs and holidays have been passed down from countless generations and have been celebrated or practiced for hundreds of years. Korea truly has a great culture.