By Seo Yeon-ji
One of the biggest holidays in Korea, Chuseok, or Korea? thanksgiving, is approaching with a long week break. Although Chuseok seems like a regular event, for some students at Ewha, it is a special event that they are looking forward to this year.
The Ewha Global Partnership Program (EGPP) students, many of whom are spending their first Chuseok in Korea, are very excited to experience a new custom. Josephine Gachwe (Computer Science, 1) from Kenya is planning to travel around Korea during Chuseok. She wishes to see Korean traditional dances and visit places where she can experience Korean culture. ?n Kenya, there are more than 40 tribes and they have their own ways of spending thanksgiving. In my tribe, Kikuyu people used to do a ritual that is similar to Korea?, sacrificing harvest foods to thank the god for this year? harvest.?
Another EGPP student Liu Qianying (International Studies, 3) from China is very much looking forward to making Songpeon (Korean traditional rice cake that is eaten in Chuseok) this year. China has its own thanksgiving too where Moon Cakes, which symbolizes the full moon and reunion of family members, are eaten. However, the cakes cannot be cooked in households in China, so Liu likes the Korean tradition of making Songpeon during Chuseok. ?he best thing I like about Chuseok or Chinese thanksgiving is that family members, who were far away from each other and were busy getting on with their own lives, get together,?said Liu.
For Chikako Ara (Human Ecology, 1), this year marks her Eighth Chuseok in Korea. As she spent her past life in a dormitory, she had many chances to explore Korean Chuseok. First, she made Songpeon with various ingredients. ?lthough the original Songpeon is stuffed with sesame seeds and sugar, I stuffed in chestnuts and red beans and made a bear shape instead of half moon,?said Ara. Second, because her dormitory inspector loved mountain climbing, she climbed up a mountain on Chuseok day and ate Songpeon on the summit under the full moon. ?n Japan, we don? celebrate Chuseok like Korea. But as I enjoy eating Korean rice cakes and playing Yut (Korean traditional board game), I? really looking forward to this year? as well,?said Ara. Ara is planning to visit her friend? house this Chuseok, who is holding a big Chuseok Janchi (party).
Miyazawa Aki (Korean Lang. & Lit., 3) said that unlike Japan where traditional holidays like Chuseok are losing their significance and meaning amongst Japanese people, Korean Chuseok seems to invite everyone to truly enjoy the harvest festival and continue its tradition.
Many of the foreign students in Ewha will be spending Chuseok in Korea with their own plans to experience Korean Chuseok fruitfully. Experiencing a new culture is always exciting and challenging. And spending time with Korean friends and families will make a big difference for them. ?lthough many places provide Chuseok events for foreigners, the best way to experience the true Korean Chuseok is to spend time with a Korean family, as if I? part of the family member,?Liu added wishing a merry Chuseok to everyone.