Chuseok: What is it and what happens to the telly?

This post is largely born from: how much I love to see idols appear in an athletic championship that could (with 75 years and the collapse of society as we know it) turn into the Hunger Games and my disappointment in drama delays (Master’s Sun!). So what is stirring up my drama universe? The Korean holiday of Chuseok (추석), a harvest festival that is one of the three most widely celebrated holidays in Korea.


So what the-what-what is Chuseok?

I, in no way, am qualified to answer this question. Over the years I have read up on this holiday due to my own curiosity, but I think I will give this one to the people most qualified to explain- Korea. So I give you Chuseok as defined by Korea’s government tourism organization:

In modern-day Korea, the three most-celebrated holidays are Lunar New Year, Dano, and Chuseok. Also known as ‘Hangawi,’ Chuseok falls on the fifteenth day of the eight month according to the lunar calendar and is considered the nation’s most important holiday. Although Chuseok itself is a single day, the holiday period includes the day before and after, involving an array of traditional activities. Early on Chuseok morning, the family gathers together to perform traditional ancestral rites. A feast of traditional Korean foods is prepared for the memorial service, after which everyone enjoys the festive meal and exchanges gifts.

During Chuseok, people nationwide leave the city in order to return back to their family’s hometown for the holiday (traditionally to visit paternal relatives). With an amazing 75% of the population on the road during this mass exodus, highways and roads throughout the country are extremely congested. Since train and bus tickets are sold out at least a month in advance, careful planning is an absolute must for anyone planning to travel during the holiday period.

Another aspect of the pre-holiday rush is shopping for customary Chuseok gifts. Gift boxes of meat, fish, fruit, spam, tuna, and health food are on display at department stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets. Others go for the more convenient option of gift certificates, available at various department stores. Needless to say, the nation’s postal service and private home delivery services face one of their busiest seasons of the year during the Chuseok holiday.

Some of the traditional customs have been modified in recent times, as some individuals and families are choosing to spend the Chuseok holiday as personal vacation rather than family holiday. Families may order food and conduct a simplified memorial ritual, giving family members more free time during the holiday. Some people use the extra time to travel with families or friends or attend cultural or leisure activities. Also, given the high congestion on roads leading out from the metropolitan area to other regions, an increasing number of parents opt to visit their children in Seoul, in what is known as the “reverse exodus.”

So, back to the telly. What is there to watch during Chuseok?

A whole bunch (but not Master’s Sun. Sorry, I am a little obsessed right now. Go away *flourishing hand movements*). Television networks usually change up the programming for Chuseok, offering yearly specials and showing films as opposed to the usual dramas and variety shows. Here is a list of what is airing during this year’s Chuseok (9/18-9/20, all in KST) by network. Stone Cities ramblings have been added for your enjoyment. Cheers!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

6:10 PM                KBS Star Babysitter / Come See Me

8:40 PM                SBS One Night of TV Entertainment

11:20PM              SBS Multi-Character Show – Cool Guys

Star Couples

Thursday, September 19, 2013

12:45AM              MBC Incheon Korean Music Wave 2013

5:45 PM                MBC Idol Star Athletics Championships Part 1- I love, love, love this special. Because it is just such a weird concept- take a bunch of idols and make them compete like it was the Olympics…but for idols?! Genius, freaking genius. Future morphing into Hunger Games genius (P.S. – my money, as always, is on anyone from Infinite. Because I am kind of a fan. Okay, I am totally a fan!)

6:30 PM                SBS Star Couples- The original Romantic & Idol. Five men and five women (all celebrities for this special Chuseok edition) take a trip together in hopes of finding true love. Always a great watch, especially if you like R&I or WGM. This year features Andy (Shinhwa), Lee Ji Hoon, Joo Ah Sung, Son Jin Young, Jo Jung Shik, Jang Dong Hyuk, Jewelry’s Ye Won, Nam Kyung Min, Sa Hee, Choi Eun Joo, and No Hee Ji.

8:30 PM                KBS Super Man is Back Part 1 // SBS Small Town Rivals Part 1

8:35 PM                MBC Biography Manufacture Factory

9:00 PM                KBS Never Before Seen Gag Concert – I love me some Gag Concert for a lot of things, more so for never before seen specials! If you have never watched this comedy show, tune in for some laughs, seriously!

11:10 PM             Happy Together

star face off

Friday, September 20, 2013

5:20 PM                SBS Star Face Off – A dress up and impression competition between celebrities cannot help but bring about annual bouts of laughter and regret. Think your favorite Kpop group impersonating the Beatles. This year’s lineup features hosts Cultwo’s Jung Chan Woo and Kim Tae Kyun and competitors EXO, B2ST, Rainbow, SISTAR, Girl’s Day, ZE:A, LEDApple, HEYNE, Lee Jung, Hong Jin Young, Boom, Lee Yoo Bi, Yoon Hyung Bin

5:45 PM                MBC Idol Star Athletics Championships Part 2- Omo, omo, who will win! And who ended up hurt. Because there are always some idols that, inevitably given the fact they ARE NOT ATHLETES AHEM, suffer injuries (yes, I have read about who took the fall this year but I have to act a little surprised while watching it! Get well soon *insert name*, the world of Kpop needs you!)

8:30 PM                KBS Super Man Part 2 // SBS Small Town Rivals Part 2

8:40 PM                MBC Real Man – Secret Military Group

9:40 PM                SBS Laws of the Jungle

Thanks for giving me the run down on the schedule, what else should I know?

You should know that leading up to the holiday every Korean celebrity and their brother / sister post pictures wearing the traditional Korean costume Hanbok. In other words, feast on the lovely. Go ahead, this is a harvest festival after all! Henceforth are my favorite Chuseok celebrity pics (from this year and years past!. Cheers!

Reply 1997

Answer Me 1997 Style

Seo Hyo Rim and Song Joong Ki

Seo Hyo Rim and Song Joong Ki

One of my fav WGM Couples

One of my fav WGM Couples


SuJu Back in the day



Kim You jung

Kim You Jung

Shin Min Ah

Shin Min Ah


Over Hyped, maybe. But I still like SNSD, sometimes!


Shinhwa- I can still call them all Oppas so they are golden in my book!

Kim Tae Hee

Kim Tae Hee- I loved her in JOJ and My Princess! Other dramas…not so much.

lee seung gi



4 thoughts on “Chuseok: What is it and what happens to the telly?

  1. “But not Master’s Sun. Sorry, I am a little obsessed right now. Go away *flourishing hand movements*”

    Oh God, I totally pictured So Ji Sub and laughed out loud. Then I wanted to cry because there’s no episode until Thursday. *Resists the urge to rock back and forth while wailing*

    At least there’s gonna be a lot of special programs? Hopefully some of them will be uploaded and subbed. That would make me very happy!

    • The idol athletic championship is usually subbed, the other programs are hit and miss (but you can count on the respective idol fan clubs for subbing).

      I am rocking back and forth with you! Master’s Sun…why, why so far away!

  2. I spent Chuseok in Korea once right after marriage. The highways are at standstill. Chuseok seems to be an important and at times, a serious event.

    TV programming-wise, I love the Idol championship “Olympic” challenge. I wish they would broadcast the whole thing.

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