Happy Hangawi! (Korean Thanksgiving)

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Zean E H Yoon, Localization - Korean and English

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Oct 3, 2009, 6:54:30 PM10/3/09
to Zean E H Yoon, Localization - Korean and English

Happy Hanwagi to you, all!

 

Hangawi (haan-gah-wee), better known as Chuseok or Chusok (choo-suck), is Korean Thanksgiving day. It is also called “Harvest Moon Day” in other parts of Asia.

 

The word “Hangawi” means “Great middle,” and celebrated on the 15th day of 8th month of the lunar calendar. It’s the day we celebrate abundance and blessings, by harvesting the very first crops of the season and sharing them with all our neighbors, family, friends, and even ancestors – much like Thanksgiving in the US, only bigger and more observed.

 

Hanwagi is a huge holiday for Koreans. Folks in major cities migrate to their hometowns for the weekend. Traffic congestion during this holiday is so bad that if low-budget filmmakers want a scene of city folks trying to flee away from volcano eruptions, they only need to come to Korea during this season.

 

Anyway – there are so many fun things to talk about Hangawi. But for this year, let me point out a few symbols you can easily come across.

 

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SOME SYMBOLS OF KOREA:

 

Picture #1: Hangawi Greeting Card

See this card: http://tinyurl.com/y9kquvr

 

+ Hanwagi is a season of harvest. A lot of warm, autum colours are used, including golden moon.

 

+ Family of multi-generation. This is a season where family is especially appreciated.

 

+ Scarecrow: what is the field without scarecrow?

 

+ Fruits: especially persimmons. Persimmons are a big part of Hangawi symbols.

 

+ Persimmons: in fact, persimmons alone can represent Hangawi. Like this: http://cfile263.uf.daum.net/image/130BE80F4AC344F8AA68DE

 

+ See people looking up? They are looking up the Full Moon, making wishes.

 

 

Picture #2: Hangawi Background

This is the one I used for my Korean-American club’s home page: http://tinyurl.com/ybh4wwf

 

+ Colour: see the golden colours. Wow.

 

+ "Golden Field (Hwang-Geum Deul-Paan)” is a part of Hangawi vocabs. Rice was valuable commodities way back when (it still is). Golden fields mean good harvest.

 

+ Hey, see that scarecrow!

 

+ Small village represents family and closeness.

 

+ Golden moon. Oh yeah.

 

 

Picture #3: Another Greeting Card

See this one: http://tinyurl.com/ye83swq

 

+ Moon Rabbit (Dal Toki): Dal (daal) = moon. Toki – rabbit. Koreans thought (but not believed in it) that a rabbit lived on the moon. For the harvest time, it is only natural to think that Moon Rabbits were doing the same thing we humans are doing on earth: milling to make Korean rice cakes. That’s what you see on this greeting card – two rabbits milling together. Aha, the word "together" also means a lot.

 

+ See the shadow of branches and fruits draping across the moon? They are persimmons. Dang persimmon is also in the middle of greeting words. Somebody make it stop.

 

 

Picture #4: Yet again another greeting card

Do you recognize Hangawi symbols in these cards?

http://tinyurl.com/ybmbdtp

http://tinyurl.com/ye9omax

 

 

Nori (game): Nong-Ak – Farmer’s Band

http://tinyurl.com/y9fhppk

How can we celebrate the season without music and dance? Hard-working farmers put down their hoes and picked up instruments. They played and danced in colourful clothes, celebrating good harvest and good years to come.

 

 

Game/Nori: Gaang-gaang-sool-Leh

http://tinyurl.com/yagnfzt

http://tinyurl.com/ydoc2uu

http://tinyurl.com/y87renx

 

Women in Chosun period were oppressed and were not allowed to leave home. But they had their games to play. I call it games for the lack of better word. I guess it’s more like “play time.” Around Hangawi season, town women met at night under the full moon, held their hands in circle, sang and danced, wishing the nation’s prosperity as well.

 

 

Songyon: Korean Ricecake

There are many different types of Korean food to talk about. But Songypon is probably the most symbolic and common ones. Click on the link to see the search result. Yum.

http://tinyurl.com/ya6ncws

 

 

Twibbon: If you have Twitter or Facebook account

http://twibbon.com/cause/Chusok-Korean-Thanksgiving

 

Decorate your profile picture. :) Do you recognize a couple of symbols in this Twibbon? While you are at it, follow me on Twitter!

 

 

A Hangawi phrase: “May it be like Hangawi”

Lastly, the most important one of the day, I think, is the phrase, "May it be like Hangawi (or Hangawi moon, depending on a region.” Hangawi is all about abundance and sharing. Weather is good and people are giving.

 

May this season be like Hanwagi everyone. Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Zeanie E. H. Yoon

Localization Specialist & Consultant

ZeanieYoon.com | +1 (818) 350-3656

 

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