Chuseokbim

Chuseokbim

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Clothing

Writer KimMyungja(金明子)

New clothes worn to celebrate Chuseok.

There are few extant historic documents showing exactly when the practice of wearing chuseokbim started. Collected works of scholars in the past mainly feature prose and verse dealing with the full moon of Chuseok and later focused on the dance ganggangsullae, where beautifully dressed-up women danced in a circle.

The term chuseokbim in reference to new clothes worn at Chuseok seems to have begun when Korea became a modern state. A record mentioning Chuseok and cloth dating back to the year 32 (9th year of the reign of King Yuri) can be found in the section of King Yuri’s reign in Samguk sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms).

The ancient record contains information on food, song and dance, and traditional pastimes and descriptions of a women’s weaving competition called jeongma. Although this old competition does not have a direct relation to chuseokbim, it can be presumed that the women were preparing cloth to make clothes for fall and the coming winter. This festive event also seems to have been designed to celebrate a good harvest of hemp.

Almost every month has a holiday, but especially on lunar New Year’s Day (Seollal), Dano (fifth day of the fifth month), and Chuseok (fifteenth day of the eighth month), Koreans wore new clothes. These new clothes are called seolbim, danobim, and chuseokbim, respectively.

In the way seolbim is also called seolbieum, danobim is also referred to as danobieum. Seolbim are fancy clothes, but danobim were also characterized by their extravagance to the point that that they were called danojang. Dano pungyeong (Dano Day Scene), a genre painting by Shin Yunbok, gives a slight glimpse of what danojang looked like. A children’s song titled “A Swing” (lyrics by Kim Malbong and music composed by Geum Suhyeon), which was released in 1941 after Korea became a modern state, began with the words “A skirt in pale blue-green made of fine ramie and a gilded hair ribbon ….” also giving us an idea of danojang.

On Dano, new clothes made of thin silk (gapsa) or fine hemp cloth were worn. Compared to seolbim and danobim, there is little information on chuseokbim.
By dictionary definition, chuseokbim are new clothes or footwear prepared to celebrate Chuseok. Hence a complete set of new clothes was prepared, including jacket and pants or skirt as well as socks and shoes. Like seolbim, chuseokbim is a compound word of chuseok and bieum. Originally, the word bieum refers to the act of dressing up with new clothes for holidays or parties and was later shortened to bim. Although chuseokbim meant the act of wearing new clothes at Chuseok, the meaning of the word changed over time to indicate the actual garments.

Chuseokbim are not only clothes worn on the holiday but also serve as an indicator of the season. Danobim marks the point at which winter clothing is replaced by summer clothing, whereas chuseokbim marks the point when autumn and winter clothes are taken out. So, around the Chuseok holiday, people prepare clothes for fall and winter. Chuseokbim, unlike danobim, were made of thick silk and cotton fabrics. On the lunar New Year’s Day, women used to dress up in yellow or green jackets and red skirts. It was also said that pink jackets and navy skirts were worn at Chuseok.

Nongga wollyeongga (Songs of Monthly Events of Farm Families), complied by Jeong Hakyu (丁學游, 1788-1855) contains the phrase “[…] dressed up in green jangot and a navy skirt […], ” which suggests that a different version of chuseokbim is credible. The songs also includes the words “silk was prepared and dyed navy and red, resulting in a variety of navy and red colors […]” As proved by these phrases, chuseokbim were worn over the ages, equally fancy and colorful as seolbim and danobim.

Chuseokbim were clothes worn for Chuseok and a scared ceremonial costume distinguished from everyday wear. In particular, these special clothes were significant as they signified abundance at the harvest time of the year, serving as a seasonal turning point.

Chuseokbim

Chuseokbim
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Clothing

Writer KimMyungja(金明子)

New clothes worn to celebrate Chuseok.

There are few extant historic documents showing exactly when the practice of wearing chuseokbim started. Collected works of scholars in the past mainly feature prose and verse dealing with the full moon of Chuseok and later focused on the dance ganggangsullae, where beautifully dressed-up women danced in a circle.

The term chuseokbim in reference to new clothes worn at Chuseok seems to have begun when Korea became a modern state. A record mentioning Chuseok and cloth dating back to the year 32 (9th year of the reign of King Yuri) can be found in the section of King Yuri’s reign in Samguk sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms).

The ancient record contains information on food, song and dance, and traditional pastimes and descriptions of a women’s weaving competition called jeongma. Although this old competition does not have a direct relation to chuseokbim, it can be presumed that the women were preparing cloth to make clothes for fall and the coming winter. This festive event also seems to have been designed to celebrate a good harvest of hemp.

Almost every month has a holiday, but especially on lunar New Year’s Day (Seollal), Dano (fifth day of the fifth month), and Chuseok (fifteenth day of the eighth month), Koreans wore new clothes. These new clothes are called seolbim, danobim, and chuseokbim, respectively.

In the way seolbim is also called seolbieum, danobim is also referred to as danobieum. Seolbim are fancy clothes, but danobim were also characterized by their extravagance to the point that that they were called danojang. Dano pungyeong (Dano Day Scene), a genre painting by Shin Yunbok, gives a slight glimpse of what danojang looked like. A children’s song titled “A Swing” (lyrics by Kim Malbong and music composed by Geum Suhyeon), which was released in 1941 after Korea became a modern state, began with the words “A skirt in pale blue-green made of fine ramie and a gilded hair ribbon ….” also giving us an idea of danojang.

On Dano, new clothes made of thin silk (gapsa) or fine hemp cloth were worn. Compared to seolbim and danobim, there is little information on chuseokbim.
By dictionary definition, chuseokbim are new clothes or footwear prepared to celebrate Chuseok. Hence a complete set of new clothes was prepared, including jacket and pants or skirt as well as socks and shoes. Like seolbim, chuseokbim is a compound word of chuseok and bieum. Originally, the word bieum refers to the act of dressing up with new clothes for holidays or parties and was later shortened to bim. Although chuseokbim meant the act of wearing new clothes at Chuseok, the meaning of the word changed over time to indicate the actual garments.

Chuseokbim are not only clothes worn on the holiday but also serve as an indicator of the season. Danobim marks the point at which winter clothing is replaced by summer clothing, whereas chuseokbim marks the point when autumn and winter clothes are taken out. So, around the Chuseok holiday, people prepare clothes for fall and winter. Chuseokbim, unlike danobim, were made of thick silk and cotton fabrics. On the lunar New Year’s Day, women used to dress up in yellow or green jackets and red skirts. It was also said that pink jackets and navy skirts were worn at Chuseok.

Nongga wollyeongga (Songs of Monthly Events of Farm Families), complied by Jeong Hakyu (丁學游, 1788-1855) contains the phrase “[…] dressed up in green jangot and a navy skirt […], ” which suggests that a different version of chuseokbim is credible. The songs also includes the words “silk was prepared and dyed navy and red, resulting in a variety of navy and red colors […]” As proved by these phrases, chuseokbim were worn over the ages, equally fancy and colorful as seolbim and danobim.

Chuseokbim were clothes worn for Chuseok and a scared ceremonial costume distinguished from everyday wear. In particular, these special clothes were significant as they signified abundance at the harvest time of the year, serving as a seasonal turning point.