Twitter shows a 달토끼 (Moon Rabbit) emoji for Chuseok 2017

Little bit late on this, but if you hadn't noticed, Twitter is now displaying a cute emoticon of a rabbit silhouetted in front of a full moon, to celebrate the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) harvest festival.

Examples of the Moon Rabbit

Here's an example from SK Telecom:

SK Telecom wishing you a HAPPY #추석. Image: Twitter

That's mildly funny. They're making a pun, which literally says "The thick rich smell of ham frying up... I'm sending you a happy Chuseok!" but "happy" and "ham frying" sound similar in Korean (햄볶 vs 행복, hambok vs. hengbok basically). Like I said, a mild and safe joke for a corporate entity to display. Throw in some innocent fresh faced male idols, and bingo, you've got a winning business tweet.

How to activate it

To activate it yourself, just tweet with one of these hashtags:

  • #추석 (Chuseok)
  • #한가위 (Chuseok in old Chinese naming style)
  • #보름달 (Full Moon)
  • #MidAutumnFestival
  • #Chuseok 

But do it quick, because this will only work from Sept 29 to Oct 9 so you've got three more days.

I did a quick check of the hashtag page myself just to look for another sample. Here's one from Virginia politician Ed Gillespie who clearly knows his state's demographics.

Chuseok well wishes from @EdWGillespie

Completely unrelated, but it was pointed out to me that until the recent Las Vegas shooting tragedy, the biggest lone-wolf type mass shooter in US history was in fact the Korean who perpetrated the Virginia Tech massacre. I didn't check the stats though.

Anyway here is the icon it is bringing up:

Image: Twitter

Why a rabbit?

You might be wondering: what the heck does a rabbit have to do with Chuseok?

Well, Chuseok is based on the lunar calendar so always falls on the full moon, and there's an old Korean legend that the features of the surface of the moon, when seen from Earth, look a bit like a rabbit making 떡 (rice cakes). See the comparative illustration here showing what cultures saw. Basically just like Westerners saw a Man in the Moon, Koreans and apparently several Asian nations saw a rabbit. See, Asians have been doing the whole cute kawaii/kiyomi animal thing for centuries. Boring Westerners and our bland ideas.

UPDATE: the Google Doodle shown in Japan for this Chuseok features the Moon Rabbit making rice cake.

Google's Japanese Thanksgiving doodle. Image: Google

From their explanation:
Today’s Doodle depicts the legend of ‘Tsuki no Usagi’, the rabbit who lives on the moon. Japanese folklore tells the story of the Old Man of the Moon, who wants to know the kindest animal. He disguises himself as a beggar and asks for food. The monkey brings him fruit. The fox brings a fish. But the rabbit, unable to find anything but grass, offers to jump into the fire to feed himself to the Old Man. Thus the rabbit proves himself to be the kindest and is taken to the moon, where he now lives. If you look hard enough, you may be able to spot his long ears as he bends over his pestle, grinding moochi (rice cakes).
Mid-Autumn Festival 2017 (Japan)

Other Twitter Korea emoji

Add this to the list of other Korean holiday emojis Twitter has been showing, including some I posted about:

Thanks for reading. Happy Chuseok folks.