How to dial an instant Chuseok on the InternetFor women married into tradition-honoring households, Chuseok means arduous, endless food preparations. The holidays are synonymous with huge family gatherings, as relatives of all stripes descend on the home to participate in ancestor memorial services. With the huge gatherings come huge appetites, and to appease those appetites entails long hours slaving away in the kitchen.
Nowadays, however, housewives do not have to worry so much about being chained to the stove because Internet shopping sites have begun to provide catering for Chuseok food preparation and charaesang memorial services. Sites such as www.lotte.com and www.interpark.com are just two of the plethora of companies that provide fast food relief.
Delivery services can provide more than 30 dishes, to be delivered to the door on Chuseok day (this year Saturday, Sept. 20). Prices are usually a little shy of 20,000 won ($17) per person. The general manager of Lotte.com, Park Gyeong-tae says, "We provide everything from stew to candles and incense, so all that the customers have to prepare are the rice and wine."
The traditional food service firm Daraewon also provides palatial courses for door-to-door delivery.
This trend of ordering Chuseok table dishes has become increasingly popular among the younger generation. "It's efficient, less time consuming and good quality," says Christine Lee, 26, who has been married for less than two years.
Ms. Lee says that her in-laws do not welcome the idea, but "the time will come when I make the decisions, and when it does, it will be for pursuing efficiency and convenience."
However, there are still those who adhere to the tradition of preparing the food at home and do not mind the labor that goes into Chuseok. "Of course it's cumbersome and tiring. But I do it with a glad heart because it's part of our way of life," says Lee Ji-hyeon, a mother of two grown sons. Mrs. Lee continues, "I would never order from the delivery service because it goes against our Confucian ethic. I believe in honoring our ancestors with food I make myself. The preparations give the holiday a sense of dignity."
But for those who do turn to online services, the Internet can provide other benefits. Many sites offer weeding and mowing equipment, to help people with seongmyo, when they go to their ancestors' graves and spruce them up ahead of time for the Chuseok services.
by Choi Jie-ho