The Korean Lunar New Year is Korea’s most important holiday of the year. The Korean Student Association (KSA) celebrated the New Year at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 2 at United Methodist Campus Ministry (UMCM). Korean students showcased their culture and
food with the Pittsburg Community and students. A traditional Korean food, ddeoguk, was served.
“Korean Lunar New Year is a holiday and celebration which marks the first day of the Korean Lunar Calendar,” said Chung hyun chu, the Korean Student Association (KSA) president. Chu said that during the Korean new year families gather from all over Korea at the house of their oldest male relative to pay their respects to both ancestors and elders.
During the holiday, people wear traditional clothes and play traditional board games. New year’s days is celebrated by starting off with an ancestral right, food is displayed before ancestors and the ritual is conducted to express gratitude and respect while the ritual is finished the family gets together to eat the offered food.
“The centerpiece of the holiday is the ritual of ancestor worship, but there are other activities including eating together, playing games and ‘Sebae’ where children and students bow to their elders and receive small gifts of money,” Chu said.
During the Korean new year, a very common dish is ddeoguk, or a traditional rice cake soup. It is believed that after you eat ddeoguk you are considered a year older.
Chu said that as president of KSA, his job is to share his culture with the Pittsburg community
“I want to share Korean traditional event with the other country people…I am trying to promote for making the other many events associated with Korea.” Said Chu.
Many students were able to attend the event and enjoy learning about Korean culture.
“It’s quite good to be here…” said Yu Hsuan Wang, a junior in studying English, from Taiwan. “The atmosphere is nice, and we also had chance to talk to some people that we didn’t know before.”
“The food is pretty nice, and my Korean friends also told me that the rice cake soup which they prepared that day has special meaning.” Wang said. “Eating rice cake soup during New Year’s Eve means growing up, and I think it is a pretty good signification in Asian countries…”
“I had chance to talked to some Koreans, and I felt so happy to become friends with them,” said Wang.
Mohammed Saif, graduate student studying information technology, said, “I wanted to be there to volunteer and help during this event.”
“I was told that for students who study abroad, they cannot get together with their family, so they celebrate the Lunar New Year with other students who also study abroad,” Saif said.
Saif said that he enjoyed the food, the energetic atmosphere in the hall, and getting along with his Korean friends.
“My favorite part was the KSA president playing musical instruments and showing his traditional music to the people who were present in that event and knowing about the festival and importance of this festival in East Asian cultural.” Said saif.
Nazneen Ashfaq, graduate student in automotive technology major, from India has been interested in the Korean culture for a long time.
“I have been watching Korean series and Korean pop since 6 years…I always wanted to experience the Korean culture practically,” Ashfaq said. “PSU gave me chance to experience Korean culture and traditional food…It was an amazing experience I was one of the volunteers and everyone was friendly.”
“My favorite part was music…I enjoyed the background music, I was familiar with those songs,” said Ashfaq.