By |08 Sep 2023 at 5:54 PM
Harvest Moon Festival 2023: Date, History, Facts, Activities

South Korea’s Harvest Moon Festival, also known as Chuseok or Hangawi, is celebrated on the 15th of the eighth lunar month — this year on September 10 — and is a time for feasting. Chuseok, one of the most significant holidays in South Korea, is celebrated by spending time with family and eating Korean delicacies. If you believe Chuseok celebrations sound similar to Thanksgiving celebrations, that’s because Chuseok is actually the Korean Thanksgiving!

The background of Harvest Moon Festival

Initially, Korea was an agricultural society. During harvest time, they would venerate the full moon in gratitude for a bountiful harvest. In accordance with an ancient custom known as ‘charye,’ the women of each family would prepare a feast of freshly harvested rice and produce. This custom can be traced back to the origins of Chuseok.

Korean legends, however, relate a different tale. According to one such legend, Chuseok discovered its origins in a weaving competition between two princesses from the Silla dynasty. The two royals were tasked with producing cloth, with the winner being the one who could weave the most. The losing party would also be responsible for preparing a feast for the winner. This competition lasted an entire month, culminating during the full moon on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. According to the legend, numerous archery and martial arts competitions were also conducted as part of the festivities, which explains how this tradition became a part of the celebrations.

Another legend describes the defeat of Silla’s rival nation, Baekje. The Baekje king discovered a turtle with peculiar markings, which his advisors interpreted to signify “Baekje full moon, Silla half-moon.” They interpreted this to indicate that the kingdom of Baekje would fall and the Silla dynasty would rise; consequently, the moon continues to play an important role in celebrations to this day. On the other hand, some scholars believe that Chuseok was genuinely adapted from ancient shamanic harvest moon worship rituals.

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Pay your deceased loved ones a visit

Koreans also spend time honouring their progenitors during Chuseok by holding ancestor memorial services (‘Charye’) and visiting family graves (‘Seongmyo’). You could also use this opportunity to reflect on deceased loved ones. Plan a brief visit to their gravesites, or recall fond recollections of the deceased.

Spend time with loved ones

As with the American Thanksgiving, the primary Chuseok tradition involves spending time with immediate and extended family. Celebrate this holiday with your loved ones and families, but be sure to make travel arrangements in advance, as it typically falls on a weekend.

Prepare a traditional Korean delicacy such as ‘Jeon’.

Prepare a delicious quantity of Korean pancakes, also known as ‘Jeon,’ which are prepared by slicing fish, meat, eggs, and vegetables and frying them in a batter made of flour and eggs. This dish tastes best with a condiment made of soy sauce and vinegar, or if you can find it, traditional Korean beer.


The preparation and consumption of food is a significant part of the Harvest Moon Festival traditions, particularly traditional dishes that are ‘offerings’ to progenitors.

Over half of the Korean population takes to the roadways to visit their families, causing one of the worst traffic jams of the year.

The universal rule is that if there is no sustenance, there is no party.

Instead of resting after a large supper, individuals engage in activities.

Under the brilliant moon, women perform this traditional dance for a bountiful harvest.


2022September 10Saturday