Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mom & Dad Visit Korea! (Part 5)

The Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) celebration is three days long, however the middle day is the official day of celebration. It's typical for most of the population to travel to their grandparents' homes to eat traditional food, play games, talk, and get money! The get money part is a little different than the American Thanksgiving. Here in Korea, children participate in a bowing ceremony where they honor their elders in the family. In return for this, the elders give money to the children. Not every family does this during Chuseok. This is mainly done during the Seolnal (Lunar New Year) celebration. My students told me they get money because they don't see their grandparents or extended family very often.

On to the details of my parents' visit! On this day, we did a lot. We started out at the COEX Aquarium, then went to City Hall to watch the public celebration, and finally went to Jeongdong Theater to watch performances of traditional Korean music and dance.

A two-headed turtle.

A pig-nosed turtle.

Deadly and dead-ugly stonefish.


At the end of our time at the acquarium, we watched a special Chuseok performance in the shark tank. In this photo, two men are playing a traditional Korean game.

This photo was during the celebration at City Hall. These musicians are really loud. This style of music is closely tied to the farming culture here. I made a video of this performance which you can watch below. It's about 15 minutes.

Mom and me.

Kite flying was a popular activity today.

City Hall.

Father and daughter playing with a hoop. Notice she is wearing the traditional dress.

Dad made another friend. It was really fun to see people approach dad. It's just so common in Korea for Korean men to talk to foreigners because they want to practice their English. I'm glad dad got to experience that too!

We left City Hall early so we could head to Jeongdong Theater. When we arrived, the staff were playing another traditional game with the guests. I didn't figure this one out, but it involves throwing the four red things and then determining winners by how they land.

Outside the theater were some instruments set up for guests to look at. This drum was more than 6 feet high.

These are photos from inside the theater. The ambiance was very cozy and warm. This was the highlight of an entire year of living in this country. I was totally blown away by the music, and I plan to go back.

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