My Mid-Autumn Festival in Ames

On the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar year is the full moon, which marks the mid-autumn festival. It is celebrated from the 14th to the 16th day of the 8th month, making it a 3-day celebration. In South Korea, this holiday is called Chuseok (pronounced like choo-suck). It’s a celebration of good harvest, observing the moon and honoring your ancestors. This year, Chuseok falls on Friday, September 13, and therefore is celebrated from September 12-14.

I don’t have access to do all of the different rituals and activities for Chuseok since I live here in Ames. But as a Korean-American, I still wanted to find a way to celebrate it in my own way. So I thought I’d share what I plan to do with you guys!

Early in the morning is when people will go to their hometowns and pay respect to their ancestors’ spirits. Since I can’t really do ancestral worship rituals here, I figured I can do some prayers at the mini-altar I have set up at home.

Of course, I have to eat rice cakes. You can buy rice cakes in Ames at any of the Asian grocery marts (such as Uni-Mart or the Ames Asia Market). My personal favorite is mochi, which is a dessert rice cake that usually has some sort of sweet filling in it. 

I’d end the day with dinner that consists of traditional Korean foods, including fried sweet gogumas (Korean sweet potatoes), Korean noodles, and soup. This is the most important part; getting together with your family and enjoying traditional Chuseok foods. This is because it’s a harvest festival, so you celebrate a good harvest with a feast. 

Typically, you would eat songpyeon (a special type of rice cake) and drink rice wine. However, since I can’t do that, I’ll have to do it with my friends here and make do with the food I have access to!

Will you be celebrating the mid-autumn festival as well? Whatever you end up doing, I hope you enjoy the start of autumn!

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