For the second time in less than a week, Korea is observing a holiday.
October 3 marks National Foundation Day (Gaecheonjeol in Korean), an observance that commemorates the founding of Korea in 2333 B.C. For many families, the three-day Chuseok (Thanksgiving) holiday extended to five days. Our university was closed on Monday, open on Tuesday, and closed again on Wednesday.
Traffic was crazy during the holiday weekend. Highways became parking lots as more than 29 million of the nation’s 50 million people traveled home for family reunions and to pay tribute to ancestors. Trains, buses, and planes were also packed. My husband and I traveled by train on Sunday. It seemed that nearly everyone was carrying holiday gifts.
Typically, Chuseok and National Foundation Day are separated by several days. However, Chuseok is a floating holiday, based on a lunar calendar. This year National Foundation Day took a back seat to the Korean Thanksgiving.