Harvest Thanksgiving Festival – Chuseok 2020.
The Harvest Thanksgiving Festival, or Chuseok (meaning ‘Autumn Eve’) as it is called for the Koreans and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival for the Chinese is on our doorstep and so we wish all our Sisters especially those from Asia and all who worked in Asia, a joyful time of thanksgiving and celebration. It is one of the most cherished holidays in the East. It takes place on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which means it usually takes place in September or early October. Though the dates may be similar in some years, it is not an Autumn Equinox festival. It is celebrated in many East Asian communities and has a history of over 3000 years.
The festival is usually a three-day public holiday. If the dates fall over a weekend, an extra day may be taken on the following Monday.
During this festive time there is an offering ceremony to the family ancestors and visiting of family graves but because of Covid-19 things will be different for many. This season is a reminder that families are connected and bonded in the same fortune.
In the past, the Moon Festival was celebrated at harvest time. Ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the moon in autumn to thank it for the harvest. The ordinary people took the Mid-Autumn Festival to be a celebration of their hard work and harvest. Nowadays, people mainly celebrate the Harvest Moon Festival as a time for family reunions.
It is Thanksgiving Day throughout Asia and so wherever we are we can join the people of the East in thanking the Lord of the Harvest for blessing us with a rich harvest and let’s remember those who have no harvest this year because of global warming. Laudato Si has given a direct message to us to declare a Jubilee Year for Mother Earth who is deeply struggling with destructive fires, floods, mudslides, desertification and changes in climate all over the world.
In this ancient tradition which is alive to this very day we recall the words of Pope Francis in Laudato Si 207 where he says:
“As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning…Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life”.
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.
Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.
Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.