Chuseok 2023: From Hanbok to Songpyeon know about Korean traditions followed during this harvest festival

As South Korea celebrates Chuseok, get to know about traditions like hanbok, songpyeon, and more followed during the harvest festival. Read here.

Updated on Sep 29, 2023   |  03:21 PM IST  |  162.8K
NewJeans; Credit: ADOR
NewJeans; Credit: ADOR
Key Highlight
  • Chuseok is a mid-autumn festival meant to celebrate bountiful harvest and pay respect to ancestors
  • This year Chuseok holidays are from September 28 -30, 2023
  • Chuseok is also known as Hangawi or Korean Thanksgiving

Chuseok also known as Hangawi is a major festival in South Korea. It is also called the harvest festival or Korean Thanksgiving. Chuseok is celebrated based on the lunar calendar on the full moon. Koreans visit their hometowns to pay respect to their ancestors and consume a traditional Korean feast. Know about some of the traditions that are followed during this festival.

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Traditional customs followed during Chuseok

Chuseok is also celebrated as a harvest festival where farmers celebrate the bountiful harvest. People also perform ancestral worship rituals to pay respect to their ancestors' spirit 


Charye is one of the major traditions of Chuseok. People perform ancestral worship rituals to honor the family's ancestors and past generations. It shows paying gratitude for having a bountiful harvest. Food is prepared and served, to pay respects to spirits in the afterlife. The placement of food is traditional - in the north direction rice and soup are placed, and vegetables and fruits are in the south. Meat dishes are placed in the east direction or in the middle along with drinks like soju or makgeolli in the east direction.


Another traditional custom is wearing Hanbok which is a traditional Korean dress. Hanbok is worn on special occasions like weddings, Lunar New Year, and one of them is Chuseok. Hanbok comes in various colors and styles. The design of the Hanbok remains unchanged to this day.


Chuseok gifts

During the 1960s Chuseok gifts started being shared by the Korean people. Gifts like items of daily necessity - cooking oil, rice cookers, cosmetics, and more along with fruits, vouchers, and red ginseng products are seen during the harvest festival. Chuseok gift sets are also available.

Folk games

Traditional folk games are played to celebrate the onset of the autumn season and bountiful harvest. Ssireum is a Korean sport played during Chuseok where two players wrestle with each other if the upper body touches the ground the player loses. Taekkyon is the oldest traditional martial art in Korea. Taekwondo in today's time bears close similarities with the martial art. Ganggangsullae is a traditional folk dance that people perform under the full moon during Chuseok night.

Traditional foods eaten during Chuseok

Chuseok is also known for the preparation of special foods during this harvest festival like Japchae, Hangwa, Baekju, Korean pancakes, fruits, and more


Songpyeon, also called the half-moon cake, is one of the major foods eaten during Chuseok. It is a traditional rice cake made up of sesame seeds, black beans, mung beans, dry fruits, cinnamon, jujube, and honey. Songpyeon in Korean means pine tree known for its aromatic fragrance and beauty.


Hangwa is another popular Korean traditional food item eaten during Chuseok. It denotes sweet food items made using rice cakes, called tteok. It is made with rice flour, fruits, honey, and roots. Edible natural colors and ingredients are added. Famous types of hangwa are Yakgwa which is a honey cookie, Yugwa which is a fried cookie, and Dasik which is a tea cake.

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About The Author

Ayushi Saxena is a Political Science graduate


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