Posted by: rbbadger | September 12, 2008


Tomorrow is the beginning of one of the biggest holidays of the year.  While Christmas is celebrated in Korea, it is nowhere near as large as it is in the West.  Chuseok, sometimes called Thanksgiving and at other times called the Harvest Festival, is one of the holidays in which whole families often gather at the home of the eldest male relative to perform the ancestral rites and also to visit the graves of ancestors.  Traffic is a frightful mess and the Gyeongbu Expressing (stretching all the way from Seoul to Busan) becomes on huge parking lot.  It lasts for three days.  Unfortunately, it comes early this year which means it is still hot (though not as hot as before, thankfully).

We had a Chuseok event for the kindergarten students today involving the making of rice cakes, all sorts of games, and teaching them the proper way to perform sebae, the bow to the parents and grandparents that is given at this time of year.  All of the students dressed in their finest hanboks and looked exceptionally cute.  I did manage to get more than a few pictures. 

You do see the women’s hanbok a bit.  In fact, I see it every Sunday, as in many parishes, if the women have some official role, such as usher, reader, or some other thing, they often wear it.  The men’s hanbok is not as commonly seen.  I have seen women in full hanbok on the subway, but only once saw an elderly man in full hanbok (pants, shirt, vest, gown, and hat) on the subway.  I have sometimes seen older men wearing it, though without the gown that goes over the shirt, pants, and vest.  Apart from that one time seeing an older gentleman with the hat, I’ve not run into any men wearing the old pilgrim-style hat that is a part of the traditional dress in public outside of cultural performances.  (Performers of traditional Korean music, if they are not attired in full court dress, almost always wear the hanbok.  For the men, it includes the wearing of the hat.)  I find the traditional dress to be quite beautiful, though I would never wear it.  For me, the sight of a foreigner in hanbok looks a bit silly.



  1. Email us some of the kids pictures!

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