Chuseok Events and Activities
Chuseok is one of Korea’s most largely celebrated holidays and it is a time when families and friends gather to share food and enjoy their time together, giving thanks to their ancestors for the year’s bountiful harvests. Traditionally people would end to their ancestral 'hometowns' or to their parents' house (traditionally the husband's parents), which is why it's a 3-day holiday - one day to go from the city, the holiday itself and then a day to get back. Women are required to do a lot of cooking during this period as they must also prepare food to offer the ancestors (see our Rituals page).
During Chuseok, a variety of traditional holiday events are held at cultural sites such as
- Seoul’s major palaces including Gyeongbokgung Palace
- The Korea Folk Village
- The National Folk Museum of Korea
- Namsangol Hanok Village
- National Gugak Center (traditional performing arts)
- Amusement Parks such as Lotte World, Everland, and Seoul Land often hold traditional Korean dance performance and folk games.
* Note: we have linked the venue to the description provided on K4E since many of the websites are Korean only.
People wearing Hanbok (Korean traditional costume) can enter Seoul palaces (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace) for free.
Some of the traditional games one can enjoy over the holiday in the Folk Village and Museum, as well is in or in front of some palaces are: Neolttwigi (seesaw jumping), Tuho Deonjigi (arrow throwing), and Jegichagi (tassel kicking).
Activities at Museums
Museum in Seoul and around the country generally offer special Chuseok programs. For a list of museum in Seoul, click here.
National Folk Museum hosts traditional dance performances over the Chuseok holiday. Visitors can also participate/learn a variety of traditional crafts. including Hanji (Korean traditional paper), stodae (a wooden pole with a carved duck that is usually made to ward off evil spirits according to past folk beliefs). There are also programs for making various shapes of traditional ink stones, as well handkerchief and fans. There is usually a small materials fee of less than W10,000.
There is, however, no charge to having fun playing folk games such as tuho (arrow throwing) jaegi-chagi (kicking a shuttlecock with one's foot) and gulleongswoi (hoop rolling). There are also free performances of salpuri dance (a cleansing ritual) and seung-mu (a Buddhist dance) outside.
The museum has been holding special introductions of the Korean holiday of Chuseok to migrant workers and students from overseas, that include sampling songpyeon, a rice cake for Chuseok holiday, wearing traditional Hanbok clothes and learning the way to do a Korean traditional bow.
For more information on the Chuseok program call: 02-3704-3127 (Korean only spoken so you may want to call 02-1330 and ask them to get the information you need). For details on museum including the National Folk Museum, type museums in the search box above.
National Museum of Korea
In 2008, among many special activities, the human Intangible Cultural Property, who specializes in tight-rope walking, showed off his skills, followed by a magic show. For more information click here or call 1544-5955 or 02-2077-9233 (Korean)
Seoul Museum of History
The Seoul Museum of History generally invites performers of traditioanl music/dance to perform over the Chuseok holiday. The museum also allowed free admission to the museum during the Chuseok events. For more information on the program, call: 02-724-0192 (Korean only spoken). To find out more about the museum, click here.
Jeonju National Museum & Jeonju Hanok Village
The Jeonju National Museum also lines up a combination of folk games and movie screening. Vistors can enjoy traditional games like yunnori, paeng-i-chigi (top spinning), tuho and receive yut sticks (from yunnori) and tops for free. People can try on the Hanbok costumes of a samulnori band and play the instruments like the drum, a janggu (a small, hourglass-shaped drum), a jing (a larger gong) and a kkwaenggari (a small gong). For information contact 063-223-5651.
Jeonju Hanok Village holds a number of events.
One can join in the program to make songpyeon and watch the traditional stage plays at Jeonju Hanok Living Experience Center.
Last but not least, there's the Seunggwangje Guest House, where Lee Seok, one of the last descendants of the Korean royal family, resides. Every Chuseok Holiday folk pastimes and other traditional performances take place there too. Visitors can try on royal garments and drink plum tea.
Many other big and small museums nationwide offer various activities and events for families, friends and lovers to enjoy the festivities in their front yard.
The Gyeongju National Museum may open up its outdoor space for various traditional games of yunnori, tuho, jusawi-nori (a dice game) and others during the holiday. The palace has hosted a performance of samulnori and demonstrations of how to cook songpyeon, hobakjeon (pan-fried zucchini). The museum may be operating as normal throughout the holiday period.
The Gwangju National Museum may open its main halls and gardens for folk games and culture experience throughout the three-day holiday. Art rooms are ready for making shuttlecocks for the “jaegi-chagi” game and painting folk arts. There's also a program for migrant workers to try out Hanbok and learn about traditional agriculture in Korea.
Activities at Palaces:
Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace) has presented tightrope walking and a Bukcheong Lion Play in front of Geungjeongjeon (the Throne Hall). The Bukcheong Lion Play was believed to shoo away evil spirits and pray for the well being of the town. Other things to entertain visitors included gilnori (road play), pungmulnori (percussion play), and julgosa (sacrificial rite for the tightrope). The event is in line with past royal records that detail festivities involving tightrope performances in front of Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Sajeongjeon Council Hall.
In front of Sujeongjeon Library Hall, there may be chances to participate in tuho (arrow throwing), yunnori (traditional board game), paeng-i-chigi (top spinning), jaegi-chagi (shuttlecock kicking) and other traditional games.
Deoksugung (Deoksu Palace) hosted a number of traditional music performances in 2008, including
Yiri Farm Music, Bongsan Mask Dance, Pyeongtaek Farm Music, Gangryeong Mask Dance, Namsadang Play and Bukcheong Lion Play.
Changgyeonggung (Changgyeong Palace) may open up the front yard of Yanghwadang Hall for traditional fun and games. For a fee of 5,000 won, one can participate in making a dancheong plaque, dancheong mirror and others from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Dancheong is a Korean traditional decorative coloring.)
Changdeokgung (Changdeok Palace) may not have as much going on as other palaces, but it is providing free plum juice to those who visit on Chuseok.
Note: The entrance fee to the palace grounds on the day before and after Chuseok may be free for those who are dressed in the Korean traditional Hanbok. However, entry is free for everyone, no matter what they are dressing, on the actual Chuseok Day. For more information on palaces click here.
Activities at the Royal Tombs:
The royal tombs of the kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) generally more visitors than usual on the occasion of Chuseok. Traditional games and folk pastimes are all included in the day's events.
The Office of the Jongmyo Shrine, which houses tablets dedicated to the memorial services for the deceased kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) offered free snapshots and hangwa (Korean snack) to the first 500 people in previous years. At Dongggureung, the biggest royal burial ground where 17 kings and queens sleep including King Taejo (1355-1408) the very founder of Joseon Dynasty, and Uireung, where King Gyeongjong (1688-1729) lies buried, snacks will also provide visitors.
Jeongneung, the royal tomb of Queen Sindeok (? - 1396), Hongyureung (Hongreung and Yureung) that belong to Emperor Gojong (1852-1919) and Empress Myeongseong (1851-1895) may prepare traditional game sets as gifts. Heolleung, where King Taejong (1367-1422) lies, may offer similar gifts to visitors who come in family groups of three generations.
Taereung, the royal tomb of Queen Munjeong (1501-1565) offers souvenirs to visitors.
Seolleung, the tomb of King Seongjong (1457-1494). Organizers may arrange to have English tour guides available at some point over the holiday. Rice cakes are often offered as souvenirs. (02-568-1291, English spoken)
Yungneung, tomb of Crown Prince Sado (1735-1762) distributes songpyeon rice cakes designate groups of visitors.
Other tomb sites -Seooreung, Gwangneung, Jangneung and the three royal tombs of Paju - are generally opened for Chuseok festivities. For more information call 042) 481-4701 or e-mail: email@example.com
The King Sejong Shrine Management Office, in charge of preserving and managing tombs of King Sejong (1397-1450), the greatest monarch of Joseon, who created Korea's writing system Hangeul, sometimes offers folk pastimes and the additional experience of printing a copper plate version of Hunminjeongeum (the first-ever instructions of how to use Hangeul).
People can also visit the Tomb of King Hyojong (1619-1659) and see the displayed sundial, rain gauge, and musical instruments used back then.
Other folk festivals are organized by the Hyunchungsa Shrine Management Office, which is in charge of the preservation of Hyunchungsa Buddhist Temple and Chilbaekichong Shrine Management Office in Geumsan-gun County Chungcheongnam-do (South Chungcheong Province) whose shrine was established to commemorate the death of 700 loyal soldiers who fought against the Japanese invaders during the Imjin War (1592-1598).
Amusement Parks: In addition, the country's biggest entertainment facilities such as Lotte World, Everland, and Seoul Land hold traditional Korean dance performances and folk games.
Korean Folk Village: Located in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do (province) in the vicinity of Seoul, the Village is a special place to visit over Chuseok. Ove the holiday, the Korean Folk Village offers visitors performances of farm music, traditional seesaws, tightrope dancing, traditional wedding ceremonies and horseback riding. Performances of farm music, or folk music known as nongak, may be staged every day over the holiday (11:00 and 15:00- telephone 1330 to confirm times).
Visitors can try traditional seesaws in the folk game known as neolttwigi at 11:30 and 15:30 (confirm time with 1330) .Tightrope dancing will amuse visitors as highly skilled walkers perform on a rope suspended in the air. In addition, visitors can make the traditional Korean rice cake songpyeon and play folk games like jump rope and tuho, a game of accuracy in which players throw arrows into a barrel.
Additionally, performances of traditional Korean martial arts will be held at possibly 13:00 and16:00. Other activities include the making of pottery, paper, fans, musical instruments and embroidery at workshops. The village also has a street market, where traditional wedding ceremonies, horseback riding and dance performances will be put on.
Directions: From Gangnam subway station, take exit 6 and catch bus No. 1560 or 5001-2, which will take you to the folk village. These buses also stop near Yangjae station, exit 7, in front of the Seocho Community Center. From Yangjae, the trip is 40 minutes if traffic is not too heavy. For more info, call the village at 031-286-2111.
For specifics on this year's events, see our What's Going section - About Korea. You can also contact 02-1330 for information on other events/activities or for more details regarding those presented above.
Last Updated on 2015-09-23
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