In most Asian countries that follow both the lunar and gregorian calendars it is noted as the second most important holiday of the year after the new year.
While people celebrate the usual way of commemorating holidays, in Korea there are some holiday rites that may seem peculiar to foreigners.
Most families will visit dead relatives graves and honor them by first bowing but also having a picnic in front of the tomb.
What is an interesting sight to some is that families are known to pour a bottle if the deceased choice of either sake or beer over the tomb and stick a lit cigarette in the grave.
But what can be appreciated universally is that people give gifts like westerners do over the end of year Christmas and Hannukah season. But the presents are always food of some kind.
Meat and an ornamentsl box of fruits ( like one of the individually wrapped melons we got today) in season are a popular choice which symbolise the harvests at this time.
In Korea and Japan, it is etiquette to wrap presents more so than other cultures. In fact not only is wrapping paper used but a special silk or cotton cloth is used to cover the item.
In Korea, it is referred to as bojagi and in Japan it is called furoshiki.
It is a custom I have only seen in these two countries thus far and I was do delighted to see people still maintain this tradition.
In fact there is a special bojagi that was mainly used by the korean royal family that was always embroidered.
Korea seems to have concentrated more on the embroidery side.
In Japan, many furoshiki have evolved to tie dyeing and the use of special indigo dyes.
In the spirit of modern oneupmanship, my mother received a Chusoek present a few years ago in an expensive silk scarf but luckily that hasn't caught on and traditional arts are kept alive although there are modern polyester varieties also available.
I am in Korea for the holidays at present so I would like to wish you a happy Chusoek / autumn / spring equinox.
I also want to say that readers Kate and Constance Snow have won the giveaway. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Pps please excuse this format but I am using the blogger app...