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Chuseok (추석) or Hangawi (한가위), is a three-day Korean harvest festival celebrated in Korea in Autumn. It is sometimes known as Korean Thanksgiving and is the biggest traditional Korean holiday.
Many Koreans will travel from larger cities back to their hometowns for Chuseok to pay respects to ancestors, with memorial services at home in the morning, and family visits to ancestral graves. Tidying and weeding around family gravesites and making offerings of special foods and drink are important Chuseok customs.
Chuseok is a time for bonding with family, gift giving, and sharing food. One of the most well-known and special Chuseok food traditions is the making and eating of songpyeon (송편), small, half-moon rice cakes which usually contain a sweet filling such as red bean paste, sesame, or honey. Songpyeon are steamed over a layer of pine needles, giving them a distinctive flavour and aroma, and the name songpyeon literally translates as “pine cakes.”
There are many traditional Korean folk games played at Chuseok time, including juldarigi, a giant match of tug-of-war played by the whole village population.
Chuseok is also a time for many folk dances, including the full moon circle dance Ganggangsullae.
Chuseok is celebrated for three days beginning on the 14th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, around mid to late September in the Gregorian calendar.