It's the Chuseok holidays and families are heading to their hometowns, or where the oldest male in the family resides, to give thanks to their ancestors and share a traditional feast.
The food on this table is for charye , a memorial ceremony that Koreans perform at home to show respect to their ancestors. charye is one of the ancestral memorial rites that have been done for thousands of years in Korea,… and people spend a lot of time considering their family traditions and regional preferences when deciding what food to put on the table.
"Both traditional markets and large supermarkets, like here, are packed at this time of year… with people stocking up for the holidays and making sure they have everything they need to prepare dishes for the traditional ceremony."
The complex task of arranging the charye table has become more simplified in recent years. According to a report published by the Korea Rural Economic Institute last month, 35 percent of respondents said they would simplify their charye table. a 5 percent increase from the previous year.
And what exactly is on this simplified charye table?
"Simplification of a table means placing common fruits such as pears, persimmons, apples or chestnuts, and arranging the rest of the table with foods that family members like."
High food prices, more people taking trips abroad, the minimalist approach of the younger generation, and rise of the 'nuclear family' have all been suggested as reasons why the charye table is becoming simpler.
But it is important to note that TRADITIONALLY foods on the charye table shouldn't be this complicated nor significant.
"In the process of modernization, our traditional charye culture has been distorted. Many people have lost the originality of traditional culture in their efforts to bring back the past, and instead, exaggerated ritual formalities have appeared."
So as long as we show our respect to our ancestors, this trend of simplification could also have some positive effects, as people can spend less time cooking, cut down on waste and lessen the household chores.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.