Fewer People Visit Ancestral Hometowns for Chuseok

      September 30, 2015 09:49

      Average daily traffic volume in downtown Seoul over Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving increased nine percent to 4.45 million this year, according to the police. This may be partly due to people who returned to Seoul after just a brief visit to their hometowns in order to enjoy the remainder of the break in the capital.

      According to a study by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, 32.2 percent of those who went to their hometowns stayed there only for one night on last year's Chuseok, up 7.1 percentage points from 2004.

      Only 25.5 percent stayed in their hometowns for more than three nights, down 14.8 percentage points.

      The main reason seems to be fatigue from work. "I usually don't get off work until late in the evening and often have to work weekends, so I just wanted to get some badly-needed rest over Chuseok," said one office worker in Seoul.

      Job-search site Saramin polled 382 office workers who intended to stay in Seoul over Chuseok, and 29.8 percent of them said they just want to rest at home.

      People arrive at Seoul Station on Tuesday after spending Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving in their ancestral hometowns.

      Meanwhile, many unemployed young people who are facing a tough job market chose to go to crammers or cafés to study. "If I visit my relatives, they're going to ask me why I can't find a job, so I decided to avoid that nightmare and just stay home and study,” one said.

      Part-time job portal Alba polled 1,430 jobseekers earlier this month and found that 38.3 percent did not plan to see their relatives this Chuseok.

      From Saturday to Tuesday, one large private foreign language school left a classroom open for students to come and prepare for job interviews, offering free drinks and snacks.

      "We had a lot of requests from students to leave a classroom open for them to study over Chuseok," one said. Some 600 students used the classroom in Seoul and six other branches outside of the capital.

      Job search portals were filled with posts from people looking for others to form study groups. One read, "Chuseok is one of the most unbearable periods of the year. Let's get together to form a study group instead of meeting relatives and getting awkward stares from them."

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