Happy Chuseok

NVOT Celebrates Korean Thanksgiving


Erin Yoon

Traditional Korean snacks

On Friday, November 18, a sweet surprise was waiting for Korean students in room A203. Small, decorated boxes were piled on a table, waiting for students to pick them up. These small boxes contained different traditional Korean snacks including songpyeon (sweet sesame rice cakes), yakgwa (deep-fried honey sesame oil cookie), and yukwa (waxy rice puffs). 

The treat boxes were created by NVOT’s Korean Parents Association (KPA) to celebrate Korean Thanksgiving, formally known as Chuseok, and distributed to students by the two NVOT Korean teachers, Lee Myungjin and Hur Youngjae. Despite the holiday being celebrated on September 29, the KPA felt it was necessary for students to enjoy these traditional snacks. “I really liked the packaging and the snacks were pretty good,” said junior Sophia Kim. “I especially liked the rice cracker.”

Although Chuseok translates to “Korean Thanksgiving,” it is not a holiday dedicated to giving thanks like its American counterpart. Chuseok is a mid-Autumn celebration of the full moon. Koreans gather together to celebrate the year’s harvests and pray for a healthy, and bountiful year. Families would gather together under a full moon to enjoy traditional Korean food such as jeon (Korean-style pancakes), japchae (vegetable glass noodles), and shikhye (sweet rice drink). 

According to Korean teacher, Myungjin Lee, the representative foods of Chuseok, Songpeon and Hangwa, had been prepared by the KPTA since 2015 when NVOT first began the Korean language program. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this tradition had been temporarily shut down, which is why she was excited to bring the tradition back. Lee believes that “it is meaningful in that it’s a time for students to learn about Korean cultural traditions and share their gratitude.”