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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan


Wondering what all your students will be doing during the Chuseok holiday?  Pretty much the same things they do during the other big holiday, Lunar New Year.  Last winter, I wrote adescription of the ceremonies Korean conduct during these events. For westerners who’ve never seen one, its an eye-opener – especially the part about spooning out some food for the ghosts to come eat.

The other custom during Chuseok is the Ganggangsullae or Korean Circle Dance. The mothers and daughters all dress up in their best hanbok and dance in a circle. This one has a strange history – during the Joseon period in the 1700s, Korean officers would dress the women in military uniforms and have them dance around a mountain in order to make the invading Japanese think the army was much bigger than it really was.  It worked – sort of.  But the tradition carries on during Chuseok during the full harvest moon.

I picked up this painting of the Ganggangsullae at an art dealer in Seoul

For us waygookeen, things to do might be a scarce.  If you haven’t already, you might want to stock up on some groceries. Many restaurants close during the holiday and getting a bite to eat can sometimes be a challenge.  I’ll be spending my Chuseok on the floor at my mother-in-law’s house on the coast – the only furniture is the tables we’ll use to eat from. No chairs, no beds – the ultimate in Korea style holidays. The really good news, though is that her house is right on Highway 31 and I plan on riding some serious kilometers along that beautiful stretch of highway.