Culture is very important to the people of the world. According to the dictionary, culture is defined as “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought” (The American Heritage® Dictionary). Culture allows people to experience the world and carry out daily functions based on their traditions. We often learn our culture from the people in our environment, such as family members, close friends, and our community. Culture consists of the foods that we cook and eat, our living arrangements, communication with society, and our behavior. In order to get a full picture of Korean culture in my speech today I am going to give you a glimpse into a celebration that is called Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving!
I first learned of this holiday when an acquaintance of mine travelled overseas to Korea. When I learned more about Chuseok, I realized just how close the similarities were to our Thanksgiving holiday.
Chuseok is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. It is the most important holiday to the Korean people. It is a time in which they honor their ancestors and give thanks for the fall harvest. Although there are no pilgrims in Korea, ancestors are similarly valued. Students and parents alike rarely take time off in Korea but during this holiday everything shuts down. People join their families to celebrate, bearing harvest fruits or vegetables. The celebration begins in the morning when food and wine is offered to the spirits of the late ancestors. (Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010) After this the families often go to visit the graves of their ancestors and care for the site.
I recently interviewed a young Korean about the celebrations. He told me the following: “All Korean children look forward to Chuseok as one of the funnest times of year. The food is delicious and the fact that you are surrounded by brothers and sisters and