Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Chuseok

Last weekend was Chuseok (추석 /Korean Thanksgiving). Chuseok, which I have posted about before, though with pictures and not as much detail, is one of the most important holidays in Korea (along with Seolnal, the Lunar New Year) and is a 3 day holiday. The main day (the middle of the 3) is August 15th on the Lunar calendar so it changes every year. Unfortunately it fell on a weekend this year, which meant only a 3 day weekend rather than a 4 or 5 day weekend that it often is. For Chuseok, Koreans (especially children) often dress up in their Hanbok (한복/ traditional Korean clothing) and visiting family is the norm. Women aren't always fond of these holidays because they are required to cook so many things. A big Korean dinner is not a simple affair and can take days of preparation due to all of the side dishes and such. During Chuseok, children bow to their elders (well, more of a prostration with the forhead touching the hands on the floor) and often get money in return. One of the most common special foods for Chuseok is songpyeon (송편), a rice cake stuffed with a number of things from sugar, sesame seeds, chestnut, and other such things. For the occasion, Thursday at my kindy was 'Hanbok Day'. The kids dressed up in their Hanboks (which seem to be getting fancier every year) and got to do several Korean activities including making songpyeon and playing jegichagi, a simple game similar to a hackey sack. The game is generally played with 4 people, passing it around trying to keep it from touching the ground.For the kids, the thing is tied to a string to help them keep it from going everywhere.I had my 6 yr old students for 30 minutes that day (each class 30 minutes). We didn't know until pretty much the day before that it was even Hanbok Day and were not told that we were expected to teach the kids something Korean (without any info or help), I had them coloring some simple pages I found on the Net. The kids didn't mind!! Hanok - Korean traditional house with a persimmon tree [coloring page]Hanbok - Korean traditional clothing [coloring page]
I colored along with them and most of them were trying, at least partly, to copy what I was doing.
If I didn't have other work to do that day I would have more pictures of the things they did.
more to come about Chuseok...