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News | Sept. 8, 2019

DLA Distribution Korea Celebrates Chuseok

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs

DLA Distribution Korea will be closed Sept.13 in celebration of Chuseok, also known as the Korean Thanksgiving Day. Chuseok is largely centered around the culture and history of South Korea. Because of this, many South Korean families will honor traditions that allow them to reconnect to their family roots. During a three-day period, running from Sept. 12-14, Koreans return to their ancestral hometowns to celebrate with their families. Families gather to give thanks to their ancestors and appreciate the bounty of nature during the harvest season. They carefully set an alter laden with foods that have been prepared with grains and fruits from the year’s harvests.

In addition to Chuseok, Jesa is a traditional Korean ceremony that honors a family’s ancestors. At the conclusion of Jesa, families gather at their ancestors' graves to hold a memorial service. In preparation for Jesa, they cut grass and weeds around their ancestor’s graves and offer food, drink, and crops to honor their loved ones. 

Songpyeon is a traditional holiday rice cake food shaped like a half-moon produced during Chuseok with newly harvested rice and fresh grains to celebrate the harvest of the year. The ingredients inside vary and may include sesame seeds, green beans, red beans, chestnuts or other similar ingredients. 

During Chuseok, families also present gifts to relatives, friends and business acquaintances to show their thanks and appreciation. Kyong Pak, DLA Distribution Korea quality assurance specialist, says she likes the holidays. “People gather all in one place like New Year’s day. I barely meet my relatives twice a year because we all live in different cities. But on this day, adults and children can talk about how they’ve been doing and tell their stories to each other. The day is full of laughing and smiling all day long. Chuseok is very special for me because this day makes everyone happy and comfortable since they’re spending time with family.” Pak also noted that an old Korean proverb says, “Not more or not less, but just like Chuseok.” The proverb means that we should try to enjoy every day the way Chuseok is enjoyed.