Many Hope Cash Gifts Will Make up for Chuseok Absence

  • By Kim Mi-ri

    September 30, 2020 08:35

    Many Koreans have been told by their elderly parents and relatives not to visit their ancestral hometowns over Chuseok but are trying to make up for their absence with expensive presents or cash.

    Pollster Tillion Pro surveyed 3,041 people in their 30s to 50s to take a closer look at this trend.

    Some 37.7 percent of respondents said their choice of Chuseok presents changed this year, with 59.5 percent saying they will give cash to their parents. Some 14 percent said that they will give them more cash than last year. Asked why, they explained that their parents wanted it, or it is convenient, or they feel sorry for not visiting them.

    The relationship used to be the other way round. Chun Jin-gi, a former head of the National Folk Museum of Korea, said, "Traditionally, parents gave money to their children. But the tradition of children bringing gifts to their parents has been around for a long time."

    They were typically seasonal produce since Chuseok celebrates the harvest moon, though this has come to include processed products like sugar, liquor and ham as the country became more industrialized.

    More recently that has changed to gift coupons or money so the elders could buy what they like. "It might seem a bit rude to give money to one's parents, but in fact it reflects a consideration of the needs of parents and should not be considered a breach of tradition," Chun said.

    Then how much money is appropriate? Amounts of course vary according to how wealthy a family is, but the average appears to be W200,000 (US$1=W1,173). That was the amount favored by 33 percent of respondents, followed by W300,000 (24.9 percent), W100,000 (21.9 percent) and W500,000 (10.2 percent).

    Most respondents agreed that cash is the most practical option.

    But do parents agree? Of respondents in their 60s, 62.6 percent said they are thankful since the money reflects the gratitude of their children. But 17.4 percent said they feel bad and plan to give the money back as presents to their grandchildren, and 10.3 percent said they feel simply uncomfortable taking money from their kids. 

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