Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chuseok at iSponge

Chuseok 추석 is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Like many other harvest festivals, it is held around the Autumn Equinox. As a celebration of the good harvest, Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of Korean traditional food.

This holiday is similar to Thanksgiving in North America, and like our holiday at home, Koreans enjoy copious amounts of food with their families during this holiday. One of the traditional foods prepared is Songpyeon 송편, a crescent-shaped rice cake which is steamed upon pine needles.

At school on the last day before the holiday, all the morning kindergartners made Songpyeon together. Another tradition is to wear a Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress. It is often characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term literally means "Korean clothing", hanbok today often refers specifically to hanbok of Joseon Dynasty and is worn as semi-formal or formal wear during traditional festivals and celebrations. Modern hanbok does not exactly follow the actual style as worn in Joseon dynasty since it went through some major changes during the twentieth century for practical reasons. Our director brought a hanbok for all of the teachers to wear.

Krista and I in a hanbok. The pants tie up high above the waist and bunch up, so my stomach is really not that big :)

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Amy, Krista, Jon and Joe (our Korean co-teachers)

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David, Jon and Kelly. These are my two kindergarten students. They are 7 years old Korean age, so about 6 or so Western age.

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Christopher, Alex, David, Seung Uk, Jade (in the back), Danny and Kelly.

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Krista, Christopher, Alex, Seung Uk, Jade, Danny and Amy. Krista’s kindergarten class, they are 6 years old Korean age.

Chuseok iSponge_07 [1600x1200]

Jon, David, Kelly and Joe.

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Jade making Songpyeon, he is flattening the dough, first you roll it in a ball, then make a pocket with your thumb and flatten it out.

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Christopher making Songpyeon

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Alex making Songpyeon

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Jon and Kelly making Songpyeon, after you have a good pocket, you fill it with crushed sesame seeds, brown sugar and honey. After you fill it, you shape the dough into a half moon.

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Seung Uk making Songpyeon

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Krista and Christopher making Songpyeon

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Krista and Alex

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Christopher showing off some Songpyeon the class had made. It is said that if you make beautiful you will have a beautiful daughter. :)

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Christopher and Amy

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A variety of traditional folk games are also played during Chuseok such as Yutnori (pronounced yoot-nori) which involves the throwing/rolling of 4 sticks to move games pieces around a stitch cloth game board. It is actually a fun and interesting game.


The best part of Chuseok for us was the time of from work! Our director gave us all a few extra days of holiday, so Krista and I flew to Tokyo to stay with one of her old college friends for four nights. We should have pictures up soon!


Marie said...

Happy Late Chusseok! Your kids look just as adorable as ours in their Hanboks.

The all-you-can-at Tuna house is in Hongdae/Sinchon...take the green line and get off at Hongik University and take the 5 exit. Walk straight and turn left when you see the blue and green gas station (it's only around a block). Turn right at your first alleyway. The restaurant will be on your left three doors or so down with a large tuna sign outside.

Make sure you tip your chef right at the beginning. This will make him very inclined to give you higher grade sashimi. It was amazing!