9 Chuseok (Korean Harvest Moon) Recipes with Jesa Table Setting Guide

collage image of 4 Chuseok recipes including jeon, songypeon, mul kimchi and yakgwa


Celebrate Chuseok (Korean Harvest Moon) with these 9 recipes that you can make at home, from rice recipes like Songpyeon (rice cakes), Sikhye (rice punch), Jeons (fritters) to Samesaek Namul (vegetable side dish with three colors).

collage image of 4 Chuseok recipes including jeon, songypeon, mul kimchi and yakgwa
Chuseok Recipes for Jesa
Koreans start the autumn season with a major celebration known as Chuseok 추석,  which takes place on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar – around autumn equinox. In 2019, this day falls on September 13th. Chuseok literally means “autumn evening,” and it’s a harvest festival commemorating the season’s crops, especially Korean rice.
Now, Chuseok is also a time when many Korean families gather together to perform Jesa (제사 ancestral rites) by cooking wonderful foods to offer to their ancestors,  setting the table and inviting the ancestor spirits to visit and enjoy the food. Jesa for Chuseok is also called Charye 차례 and when the ceremony is over, the whole family will enjoy the food together.
Traditionally in the past, the women in the family (mom, daughter-in-law, daughters) spent days preparing all the Jesa food. But today’s modern Korean family often chooses to go on trips instead or actually order the foods from businesses instead of laboring for days to prepare it all. But it’s still good to know the history behind these foods.
Chuseok is also a time to celebrate all the abundance of New Year’s crop which will always include rice and fruits. Koreans make rice cake, rice wine, and rice dessert with the new rice crop along with festive dishes like grilled fish, dried seafood (octopus, pollock or yellow croaker), beef jerkey (yukpo), seafood fritters (saenseonjeon), and vegetable side dishes (namul).

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