September 23-26, 2018
This weekend marks the start of one of the most important Korean holidays, Chuseok. Jung II-woo and many Koreans will honor their ancestors and give thanks for a bountiful harvest. I wanted to know more about Chuseok and what Jung II-woo and Koreans do at this time, this is what I learned:
Cr. Wikipedia, Imagine your Korea website and “thesoulofseoul.net”
“Chuseok (Hangul:추석;秋夕), literally “Autumn eve”, once known as hangawi (Hangul: 한가위 from archaic Korean for “the great middle (of autumn)”), is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in North Korea and South Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar on the full moon. Like many other harvest festivals around the world, it is held around the autumn equinox, i.e. at the very end of summer or in early autumn. ” Cr. Wikipedia
“In the morning of the day of Chuseok, family members gather at their homes to hold memorial services called charye in honor of their ancestors. Formal charye services are held twice a year: during Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) and Chuseok. During Chuseok’s charye, freshly harvested rice, alcohol and songpyeon (half-moon rice cakes) are prepared as an offering to the family’s ancestors. After the service, family members sit down together at the table to enjoy delicious food. ” Cr. Imagine your Korea
This coming up is taken from another website:
“The oldest male heir of a household holds jesa to honor his family. This means that my husband, who is an only son, would honor his father and his father’s father when it is his turn to hold jesa. Currently, my husband’s father is still alive so, we go to his house to hold jesa and we honor my husband’s father’s father and his father’s grandfather and his father’s grandfather’s brother because his father’s grandfather’s brother had no male heirs. Technically only men are allowed to hold jesa which means that if my husband’s father’s grandfather’s brother had had a female heir, she would not be able to hold jesa for him because presumably she would have married into another family and would be honoring her husband’s family which is how we came to honor his father’s grandfather’s brother as well during our jesa ceremony. Jesa is passed down through the oldest male heir/relative and that’s the easiest way to remember, put simply. That is also one of the reasons that having a son has traditionally been so important to families. My husband is now the third generation in a row to have only one male heir to carry on the tradition so it is important for him to learn and continue to honor his line for his ancestors. ” Cr. The Soul of Seoul. net
Now…I’m going to make an assumption, I am going to assume that Ilwoo, who is catholic celebrates Chuseok. According to my Korean tutor, protestants can’t celebrate Chuseok, but Catholics can… he might not celebrate the traditional Chuseok and attend a catholic mass to remember his ancestors… this is on my list of questions to ask Jung II-woo someday! So making the assumption that Jung II-woo celebrates a traditional Chuseok… this is what would happen:
So in Ilwoo’s case, because his father is alive, his father has the responsibility to host Chuseok and the “charye” memorial service. Jung II-woo will go to his parent’s on September 24th and help in the preparations and participate in the service. He will honor his father’s father and the male ancestors up to four generations before. Of what I read, only the men are honored in this ceremony.
The first thing they do is set an altar table. The placing of the food on this altar is placed according to their colors and make up. Jung II-woo is probably very involved in this as he loves to cook and various dishes are especially prepared. To see in detail how they do this, visit HERE. This is what the table place setting looks like:
After the table is set, the family will participate in the “jesa” or ceremony prayer for the ancestors. This ceremony is very symbolic and beautiful. It is also very arduous as it involves bowing many times. You can read about it HERE.
Another traditional custom of Chuseok is seongmyo, or visit to the ancestral graves. Seongmyo is an old tradition that is still carried out to show respect and appreciation for family ancestors. During seongmyo, family members remove the weeds that have grown around the graves and pay respect to the deceased with a simple memorial service. Cr. Wikipedia.
Would you like to see more Jung Il-woo delights? Here you are! Cr. jungilwoo.com, and…
I edited this first one…
… from this one:
I wish you a very happy Chuseok Jung Il-woo Ssi. May the memories and thoughts of your ancestors fill you with peace and gratitude. I am very thankful to them (including the women!) because they led to the wonderful person that you are!