Saturday, September 17, 2016 was the 24th Annual Korean Day Cultural Festival held in Union Square Park of San Francisco, California. This festival was held in celebration of last week’s holiday Chuseok (추석) which was held in Korea on September 15th.
Chuseok is a holiday that those in America might best understand as a type of Korean Thanksgiving.This is because it is held near the autumn equinox and celebrates many of the same customs we here in the US celebrate before our turkey-induced slumber. While it does not occur on the same day every year, it is usually during the month of September or October and is based on the Lunar calendar–something us in the West can sometimes get confused by. (If you did not know, the calendar of 365 days we all know and love is actually the Solar calendar). Traditionally, Chuseok is a festival dedicated to giving thanks for a good harvest during the year in which food is at the forefront of festivities.
Even though it is a long-established practice for Koreans to visit their ancestral hometowns so that they may partake in traditional dishes and spend time with their families, many Koreans in the US cannot afford to pay for airplane tickets back to their hometowns or lead busy lives that do not allow them the time to make the long trek back. Because of this, the people of the Bay Area Korean community have banded together for nearly a quarter of a century to bring Chuseok to the US, so that they may participate in the festivities without leaving the area which has now become their home. And where better to experience such a lively display than in Union Square Park–the heart of San Francisco!
If you have never celebrated Chuseok, Korean or not, and wish to do so, I urge you to participate next year. It will be the Bay Area’s 25th annual official celebrate of Chuseok and is sure to be an event not to be missed. Bask in the traditions of ancient Korea with fun, interactive games and exciting dance performances, indulge in some delicious food and spread awareness of Korean culture throughout the Bay Area and beyond!
[Featured picture credit: http://bit.ly/2dj3jyE]