Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lunar New Year and Chuseok Holidays

Nearly 75% of the population in Korea is on the go during the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year or Seollal) and Chuseok (Thanksgiving) holidays. Millions of people return to their hometowns during these holidays. Imagine Korean people hit the roads at the same time on this special occasion to spend their entire vacation visiting their parents and relatives. It's a concept embedded and ingrained in their thoughts to visit their parents. They think it's the right thing to do. There are no exceptions! They think it's very disrespectful not to!

Special transportation services like extra trains, chartered buses and even army vehicles are put into place during these holidays. There's also a 24-hour live broadcasts of road and traffic conditions. They also put temporary toilets along the congested parts of the highways so they can use them when they are stock in a traffic.

Koreans cook different kinds of side dishes to offer for jessa (ceremonial for the dead). Mostly, the daughter's in law (Myeonori) are in charge of everything. The cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes, etc. Men go to jijilbang or sauna (public bathrooms), sleep, talk to each other or drink alcohols. Only few help the chores. Kids play and receive some money from elders.

Boxes of fruits, toiletries like shampoos and toothpastes, sets of tuna in can, olive oil, seaweeds, healthy foods (ginseng) and medicines, etc. are some of the famous presents during these holidays.

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