Saturday, October 07, 2006

Korean Thanksgiving

Last night we celebrated Korean thanksgiving, Chu'sok, just the way I remembered it as a child.

Ripe fruits, Korean rice cakes interlaced with pine needles, and raw chestnuts filled the ancestral table. Children ran around with toy cars as we fried pancakes and picked fresh vegetables in the backyard.

One notable difference was the Catholic hymns sung by aunts and uncles before the bowing and serving of rice wine to our ancestors. The grafting of East and West is rarely seamless; slowly time pulls traditions by its roots. And yet I appreciate the attempt to perserve old rituals as we take on new ones. The fact that my parents and relatives fumbled with the oversized digital TV, while watching Korean karaoke, instead of peeling chestnuts or playing Go, reminded me of just how much times have changed. Their loud voices were a bit muted this time, but their goofy humor still shined through. After a few shots of soju, their voices rose back to the thunderous levels I used to fall asleep to when I was younger. And being home after a year to see the entire family, including a sleepy but sweet new member, Alya, brought home the meaning of chu'sok and the tight bonds of our family.

Today, the rain is starting to blur the landscape out here in Maryland. My living room window is transforming itself into a Whistler painting. It's good to be home.

Korean Thanksgiving Background


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Blogger Soyona said...

awww! well-said :) i miss familyyyy

6:59 AM  

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