|At the top of Namsan, people chain their love to its gates: promises, hopes, and dreams.|
Today (Monday), is the last of three days of the autumn harvest festival, Chuseok (추석). It is celebrated annually on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, around the Autumn Equinox. It’s sort of like a Korean Thanksgiving. Everyone travels to their hometown (usually their ancestral hometown) to pray to their ancestors, spend time with family, and, of course, feast. They also exchange gifts – usually pretty practical ones like food or toiletries, it seems.
|Traditional Korean dresses.|
In the absence of my biological family, I spent a lot of time with my friends here. Some of the highlights included eating delicious food, hiking with friends up a mountain in the middle of Seoul called Namsan, and singing in a karaoke bar. Korean karaoke bars, or Noraebang (노래방), are rooms that you rent out by the hour and are equipped with usually two microphones, tambourines, and a karaoke machine. Since no one has much vocal talent, it’s a non-humiliating way to belt out your favorite tunes with your favorite people.
|At the top of Namsan with friends.|
|At the Noraebang with friends.|