The summer heat is leaving Seoul and the mountain leaves are turning bright orange and red. It’s the time of year for Korea’s most important holiday: Chuseok.
Similar to American Thanksgiving, Chuseok is the biggest holiday on the Korean calendar. Every year millions of people leave the city of Seoul to visit friends and family in the surrounding provinces for a five day weekend of great food, soju, and traffic. Lots of traffic.
But it’s not only express ways that get overwhelmed with traffic. Every year the country’s biggest telecoms – SK, LG U+, and KT – have to reinforce their networks in preparation for the spike in communication traffic that comes with the holiday.
This year, telecom companies estimate mobile traffic to increase by 500% in some congested areas, like highways, as people make their way to hometowns. An overall 2.7% increase in communication traffic is expected for the entire country.
As the Korea Joongang daily reports:
“the number of unlimited data service users has increased recently, data usage other than voice calls and text messages is expected to go up significantly. This year’s Chuseok holiday runs from today through Sept. 9, and for some companies includes Sept. 10.
The number of voice calls is expected to increase 5 percent, text messages 32 percent, and the use of wireless data 20 percent. Use of T Map services is expected to jump 166 percent.
SK Telecom will operate a special communications situation room during the six-day holiday. It will also reinforce its spam message monitor system.”
Chuseok in Games
Chuseok is also having a big impact on mobile games. Several companies have created special, in-game events to take advantage of the holiday. A few examples include:
CJ E&M’s 몬스터기들이기 (Monster Trainer) planned a songpyeong event (Korean rice cake desert).
Com2Us’ Tiny Farm is hosting a harvest event with rewards given passed off the number of rice plants users can harvest.
Spice up your games with a touch of Chuseok
If you’ve got a game in Korea that you’re looking to spice up with your own events there are plenty of things to consider. Food, for example, is an important part of the festival.
One of the most recognizable Korean snacks around the Chuseok holiday is songpyeon, a sweet rice cake that holds sesame seeds, beans, and other traditional ingredients. They are often green, pink, or yellow. Fruits, like apples, are also a seasonal favorite around the Chuseok festival. As much as food, ceremonies are a big part of the tradition as well, some more popular than others.
One of the more common family events is to visit the burial grounds of relatives and pay respect to earlier generations of family. Because of this, public cemeteries are often quite crowded during the holiday season. Others include bull fights, weaving, traditional performance art, and traditional music.