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Huijia Festival

Basically, the Korean minority celebrate the same festivals as the Han people which including the Spring Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Pure Brightness Festival, etc. Nonetheless, the Korean people have their own festivals. There're three famous household festivals, namely, a baby's first birthday, the Huijia Festival and the Huihun Festival. Huijia literally means people aged over 60, and Huihun means old couple who have been married for over 60 years. So the Huijia Festival is also called Eldership Festival.

The date of the festival varies according to different areas. In Heilongjiang Province, it is held on the 20th or 24th of the 6th lunar month, but in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, it is held on the 15th of the 8th lunar month.

The Korean people have a long-standing tradition of respect for the aged. In their daily life, young people should never drink or smoke before old people or walk in front of them. Prior to the meal, the elder have the privilege to be served and eat first. If you have the intention of bypassing them, you have to come up with an excuse politely. Meeting the elder on the way, the young should greet him and make way for him. Young people should also use all the respectful words when talking to old people. 

Huijia Festival Banquet stands as the grandest among all the ceremonial banquets held by the Koreans. On this occasion, all relatives and neighbors will be invited for dinner to express the children’s heart-felt gratitude for their parents who gave birth to them and reared them. On the day, the Korean villages are immersed in happiness and jollification. Every family is busy making traditional Korean food like “spank cake,” cold noodle and dog meat, etc. The person who on that day came to sixty years old will be dressed up, wear a big red flower on his chest and be seated in the middle with others sitting on both sides. His children, grandchildren and relatives would kneel down in front, offering him wine one after another to show their respect and gratitude.

And on this particular day, the Koreans will fully engage themselves in dancing, playing swings and wrestling, all as a result effectively play up the joyful atmosphere in the festival.

There is a story about the origin of Huijia Festival. Once upon a time, an ancient Korean King imposed a law that all old people aged 60 have to be buried alive. A man surnamed Kim, however, managed to hide his aged father to escape death. Years later, some foreign country threatened to invade Korea unless the king can find correct answers to three questions. The king is desperate as he had no idea what are the answers. However, the young man went to the King and told him all the answers that averted the crisis for the country. The king was astonished when the young man told him that the answers were given by his old father who was supposed to be buried alive. Then the king abolished the ruthless law and held a grand Huajia Banquet to commemorate wisdom of old people.

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