Chuseok is one of the biggest national holidays for Koreans on September 15 of the lunar calendar.
When it is Chuseok, the entire family visits their family home to pay a visit to their ancestors. The highways and highway stops are filled with people going to their home towns. It is, indeed, a movement of the nation.
It is quite the contrary in North Korea.
Chuseok is not the biggest holiday in North Korea. The biggest holida is the birthdays of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Chuseok is just another national holiday.
North Korea makes food and they pay respect to their ancestors. However, they do not pack gifts and head on to their home like the entire nation of South Korea.
North Korea rejects Chuseok as a remain of feudalism but after 1972, North Korea authorities allowed their citizens to do their visits to their ancestral graves.
North Korea made 1988 Chuseok as a holiday. The year later, 1989, they said the Chinese New Year, the Hansik, the Dano festival (May 5 of the lunar calendar) and kept them four as the Four Main National Holidays.
There is no massive movement of the nation like that of South Korea.
North Koreans make Sonpyun (a kind of Korean rice cakes) during Chuseok. They also do ancestor-memorial services and they do visits to their ancestral graves and they share the food amongst the family members.
People could not think of any Chuseok and foods during the mid 1990s of March of Tribulation. Only recently, with the change of the situation regarding food supplies, there has been an increase of families who can afford to visit ancestral graves with many kinds of foods.
The main difference is that there is no huge movement of the nation like South Korea. It is very difficult for North Koreans (for families so wide spread throughout the country) to gather around at once place.
After designating the official Four National Holidays in 1989, people were allowed to go to different regions and provinces, excluding Pyongyang and border areas, without their official safe conducts. However, for people who lived in 2 hour ride away (in train) or who lived in different province cannot fathom to get together.
It is because they only rest during the Chuseok day and in order for people to take the train and cross different provincial borders, they must have a certificate of travel which is issued by the applied People’s Safety Agency.
The North Koreans consider Chuseok as a day to pay respect to their ancestors by making food out of their harvest. They spend their beautiful autumn day to go up the mountain, drink wine and pay respect to their ancestors.
Although their economic situation is bad, they take the time to relax and have a great time with their family. In thinking of the food, even the children love Chuseok.