Friday, September 24, 2010

Chuseok: September 22, 2010

It may not have anything to do with Canadian history, but September 22nd was the Korean holiday Chuseok (pronounced "chew-sock"). Chuseok is often described as Korean Thanksgiving since it happens more or less around the same time as our Thanksgiving. The main difference though, is that rather than celebrating the harvest (or simply a day off from school/work, which is how I think most Canadians view Thanksgiving), Chuseok in Korea is a time when families gather together to remember their deceased ancestors/relatives.

One of the many traditional activities that occurs at Chuseok is the making of songpyeon. Songpyeon is a form of pressed rice-cake (ddeok) that can be filled with an assortment of semi-sweet fillings. Traditionally in Korea, families would often get together and share their songpyeon creations with their neighbours. This practice can be traced back to around the 10th Century.

Earlier in the week my brother, EP Dan, and I had invited a Korean friend of mine - "English name" Joshua - and his wife over to our home. To return the favour, Joshua and Cristin (his wife) invited us over to their house for Chuseok (technically the day after Chuseok) to partake in a meal of delicious jabchae (among other things), and to make songpyeon.

(Left to right: Joshua, Cristin, EP Dan, EP Dave - me, sitting down for delicious Korean food.)

(EP Dan and I make songpyeon. We filled it with the delicious myung bean paste you can see in the bowl. Incidentally it's the same delicious paste found in jjinpang, which probably means nothing to many of you, but was a catalyst for many an adventure while I was in Korea.)

It was a wonderful night, and so was the afternoon spent at our house the weekend prior. While I'm having fun exploring Canada, I'm sorry to say that the most exciting part of living in Canada is hanging out with Koreans.

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