Dr. Oetker Stories

Chuseok - Harvest and family festival in South Korea

Within our series about international festive occasions, today we’ll have a look at South Korea for the holiday Chuseok.

Chuseok - Harvest and family festival in South Korea

25.9.2023 Company and Culture

Did you know that Dr. Oetker is also represented in South Korea with four employees? Dr. Oetker South Korea is one of the youngest members of the Dr. Oetker family founded in 2018.At the end of September, on a full moon night, Chuseok is celebrated in South Korea. Chuseok (translated as "autumn evening") is one of the most important traditional festivals in South Korea and is comparable to the Harvest Festival, which is widespread in Europe, and to Thanksgiving in the USA. In South Korea this holiday is also used to maintain traditions.

Celebrated several days

Chuseok, the South Korean family festival, is celebrated on a different date each year. The celebration usually lasts three days. Sunyoung Kim, Senior Marketing Manager at Dr. Oetker Korea in Seoul explains: “Since this year Chuseok is taking place on the 29th of September we're enjoying two more days before and after the Chuseok to visit the hometown and enjoy the time with the family and relatives. We do spend the days to talk, eat and drink together. This leads to an even better understanding within the family.”

Holidays in South Korea are calculated according to the Chinese calendar, which follows the lunar cycle, which is why Chuseok is also called the "Chinese Moon Festival". Comparable to the Christian harvest festival, a variety of traditional dishes are served to symbolize a rich harvest and to share prosperity.

Honoring the family elders and lively events

Moreover, the celebrations are also used to acknowledge older and higher-ranking family members. Deceased family members are honored with a joint visit to the ancestral grave. For many, it is a tradition to clean and decorate the grave on this day. The celebration days become lively due to various folk games, dances and wrestling matches that take place throughout the country.

Typical dishes

A typical delicacy at Chuseok is songpeyon, a pine-flavoured green rice cake filled with sweet chestnuts, sesame seeds and red beans. Songpeyon are often prepared one day before Chuseok with the whole family. There is also a wide variety of meat, vegetables and fruit. “Prepared food is slightly different based on the region and traditions in each family” elucidates Sunyoung Kim.

Homecoming on festive days

In South Korea, especially around Seoul, there is a very high volume of traffic on these days, as Chuseok is a time when many people return to their families to spend time together, maintain old customs and celebrate the importance of community and tradition.

Dr. Oetker in South Korea 

In South Korea, not only traditional products
such as Songpeyon are popular, but also Dr. Oetker frozen pizza or Vitalis
muesli. The affiliate Dr. Oetker South Korea was founded in 2018. Four
employees there take care of the distribution of pizzas, mueslis and, since
2021, frozen cakes under the Dr. Oetker Patisserie brand.