Mr. Jo, 35, plans to stay home with his wife over Chuseok holidays although they used to go off on a trip on traditional holidays. This year, things are somewhat different as the number of COVID-19 cases still remains high. The married couple gave up on traveling this year but instead they will enjoy Chuseok vibes staying home and cooking traditional Korean food such as jeon (Korean pancake) and songpyeon (half-moon-shaped rice cake).
A survey of 1,037 workers from Sept. 6 to Sept. 10 showed that the majority intend to spend the forthcoming holidays staying home with no-frills although they have a chance to make use of disaster relief fund over as long as five holidays, according to The Dong-A Ilbo and Job Korea.
Asked what they plan to do on Chuseok, 36.3 percent answered that they will stay in their neighborhoods. Only 58.8 percent intend to visit their parents – a figure way down from 78.8 percent before the COVID-19 pandemic. Those planning on traveling or playing golf take up as low as 8.9 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively.
With the rise of those who will enjoy Chuseok at home, as high as 63.2 percent of the respondents said that they will have traditional dishes on Chuseok, 73.7 percent of which plan to cook on their own, followed by those who will have take-away food (16 percent), ready-to-cook products (5 percent) and delivery services (3.1 percent). There is a growing consensus that traditional holidays do not have to be dedicated to family visits as social distancing has recently become part of them, according to Psychological Professor Lim Myung-ho at Dankook University. Instead, he added that demands are rising that people want to eat soul food thinking of what Chuseok used to be like.
Spending most of Chuseok holidays staying home, workers expected to spend 310,000 won over the holidays, 20,000 won down from last year, explaining that they will spend less as they plan not to leave their neighborhoods (66.1 percent) or will not hold a memorial service for their ancestors (27 percent).
Many respondents said that they will spend most of their holiday expenses for buying presents or giving cash to their parents as they find it hard to visit them amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixty nine percent (on multiple choices) answered that they will spend most of their budget on their parents on Chuseok, followed by dining out (30 percent), transit fare and gas (25 percent) and buying food for rituals (23 %).
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