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Thanksgiving Day in Korea – All about Korean Chuseok

Chuseok, also known as Korean Thanksgiving, is a significant holiday in South Korea that celebrates the autumn harvest and pays homage to ancestors. This article delves into the traditions, customs, and cultural significance of Thanksgiving, offering readers insights into one of Korea’s most cherished festivals.

What is chuseok

Chuseok, known as Korean Thanksgiving, is one of the most significant and widely celebrated holidays in South Korea. It typically falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, usually in September or October, and is deeply rooted in Korean culture and tradition. Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together, pay respects to their ancestors, and celebrate the abundance of the autumn harvest.

At the heart of Thanksgiving Day is the practice of ancestral rites, where families gather at their traditional homes or gravesites to honor and remember their forebears. This involves offering food, drinks, and incense as a sign of reverence and gratitude. Ancestral rites are considered a sacred duty and an essential part of Korean filial piety, reinforcing the importance of family and established connections.

Chuseok is also characterized by the sharing of traditional foods, with families preparing elaborate feasts featuring an array of seasonal delicacies. One of the most iconic Thanksgiving dishes is songpyeon, a rice cake filled with sweet fillings such as sesame seeds, red bean paste, or chestnuts. Songpyeon-making sessions are a cherished Thanksgiving Day tradition, bringing families together to bond over the preparation of these delicious treats.

In addition to ancestral rites and feasting, Thanksgiving Day is a time for festive gatherings and cultural activities. Families often engage in traditional folk games such as ssireum (Korean wrestling), archery, and board games, fostering camaraderie and friendly competition among loved ones. Cultural performances, music, and dance are also featured during Chuseok festivities, adding to the joyous atmosphere of the holiday.

Chuseok holds excellent significance for Koreans as a time for expressing gratitude and honoring ancestors and as an occasion for strengthening family bonds and celebrating the season’s blessings. It serves as a reminder of the importance of tradition, community, and the enduring spirit of thanksgiving in Korean culture.Clik here to know about of korean some most popular Festival

What is the history of Chuseok?

Legend has it that two teams were in a month-long weaving competition initiated by the ancient kingdom’s ruler, Silla. The winning team received food, beverages, and other gifts from the losing team once they emerged victorious with the most fabric woven. Thanksgiving was thus established about 2000 years ago.

What is Korean Thanksgiving Day

Many refer to Chuseok as “Korean Thanksgiving Day.” Its customs are comparable to those of the US Thanksgiving holiday. Most households are busy during Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving Day, preparing for large family get-togethers.

Other than Lunar New Year’s Day or Seollal, this is the additional time of year when family members meet together in Korea. This usually entails visiting the family patriarch’s house, which is frequently one’s grandparents. The fact that the destinations are frequently outside major cities causes severe traffic congestion nationwide.

Korean Thanksgiving Day, or Chuseok, is a time-honored tradition that celebrates the abundance of the harvest season and the bonds of family and community. Through ancestral rites, feasting, and cultural festivities, Koreans unite to express gratitude, honor their heritage, and create lasting memories. Thanksgiving serves as a reminder of the values of gratitude, unity, and interconnectedness that continue to shape Korean society and culture.

When is chuseok

Chuseok, commonly known as Korean Thanksgiving, is a significant holiday in South Korea that holds deep cultural and traditional significance. It typically occurs on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, falling between late September and early October in the Gregorian calendar. This date marks the peak of the autumn harvest season, making it a suitable time for Koreans to express gratitude for the year’s abundance.

According to the lunar calendar, Chuseok is observed on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. The actual date of Korean Thanksgiving varies by year, but it is usually observed in September or October. The dates for Chuseok in the upcoming years are listed below.

Korean Thanksgiving, September 9–12, 2022
In 2023, Chuseok falls on September 28–30.
Chuseok, Mon, September 16, 2024 – Wed, September 18, 2024

Chuseok falls on September 28, 2023. The day of Thanksgiving and the days leading up to and after it are all included in the three-day holiday period.

Koreans typically return to their hometowns the day before Chuseok to spend the holiday with their families.

chuseok holiday

Chuseok is a critical Thanksgiving holiday observed in South Korea that has great cultural significance for Koreans living abroad and those who are Korean-American. The Chuseok holiday, followed in the fall each year, is also called Korean Thanksgiving. Families gather together to celebrate traditional values and practices during Chuseok.

Over the Chuseok holiday, three days of celebrations, individuals of all ages don traditional Korean attire, known as hanboks, and assemble to pay tribute to their ancestors. Nowadays, Chuseok is more of a family celebration, with Koreans traveling back to their hometowns to spend time with relatives they may not have seen in months because of work and other obligations. Lanterns bursting with color adorn homes, and traditional Korean fare is served, such as songpyeon, a variety of colored rice cake stuffed with fillings such as beans, soybeans, and walnuts.

For Koreans and people who appreciate Korean culture worldwide, Thanksgiving is a significant holiday. Koreans celebrate their heritage during this time, gathering to enjoy the company of their loved ones and express gratitude for the year’s benefits. The holiday’s significance is that it has allowed Korea to showcase its distinct cultural history to the world while also assisting in preserving traditional customs.

chuseok food

Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving holiday, is a time of feasting and celebration, where families come together to share traditional foods and express gratitude for the harvest season. The cuisine of Thanksgiving is deeply rooted in Korean culinary traditions, featuring a wide variety of dishes that reflect the flavors and ingredients of the autumn harvest. From savory delicacies to sweet treats, Chuseok food is a feast for the senses, offering a taste of Korea’s cultural heritage and culinary diversity.

Korean culture places a lot of emphasis on food, particularly at major events. We’ve compiled a list of delectable Chuseok foods that are popular during Thanksgiving in Korea. During Chuseok, you can find these Korean foods in almost any South Korean home, but you can also have them at a Korean restaurant.


Songpyeon is perhaps the most iconic Chuseok food, a type of stuffed rice cake that symbolizes the unity and harmony of family gatherings. Made from glutinous rice flour and filled with sweet ingredients such as sesame seeds, sweet red bean paste, or chestnuts, songpyeon is molded into small crescent-shaped cakes and steamed over a bed of pine needles for added fragrance.


Japchae is a savory and colorful noodle dish made from sweet potato starch noodles, stir-fried with vegetables such as carrots, spinach, mushrooms, and thinly sliced beef or pork. Seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, japchae is a staple dish in Chuseok feasts, appreciated for its delicious flavors and vibrant presentation.


Galbi, or grilled beef short ribs, is a popular dish often enjoyed during Chuseok gatherings. The meat is marinated in soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and sugar, imparting a rich and savory flavor. Grilled to perfection over an open flame, galbi is tender, juicy, and bursting with umami goodness, making it a favorite among Thanksgiving celebrants.


Jeon refers to various Korean savory pancakes made from a batter of flour, eggs, and water mixed with different ingredients such as vegetables, seafood, or meat. During Chuseok, jeon is a staple dish of the holiday feast. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, jeon is hot off the grill, accompanied by dipping sauces like soy sauce or vinegar.


Hangwa encompasses many traditional Korean sweets and confections, often enjoyed as a dessert or snack during Thanksgiving. These delicacies come in various shapes, colors, and flavors, with ingredients like rice flour, honey, nuts, and seeds. Examples of hangs include yakuza (deep-fried honey cookies), disk (pressed sweets), and yet (traditional taffy), adding a sweet note to the Chuseok festivities.

Chuseok food plays a central role in the holiday, with a rich array of traditional dishes reflecting the flavors and ingredients of the autumn harvest. From the iconic songpyeon to savory delights like japchae and galbi and sweet treats like hang, Thanksgiving cuisine offers a taste of Korea’s cultural heritage and culinary diversity.

As families gather around the table to enjoy these unique dishes, they create lasting memories and reinforce the values of gratitude, unity, and togetherness that define the Chuseok holiday. Through ancestral rites, feasting, and cultural activities, Thanksgiving day serves as a time for reflection, appreciation, and connection with loved ones.

Ultimately, Chuseok embodies the spirit of abundance, generosity, and Thanksgiving, reminding us of the importance of family, tradition, and community. As Koreans come together to celebrate this memorable holiday, they carry forward the legacy of Chuseok and its timeless message of gratitude and joy.

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