Music and laughter could be heard throughout the building as the Korean Student Association (KSA) hosted their annual Korean New Year celebration on Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Campus Ministry (UMCM) building.
During the event, a lunch of traditional Korean food was provided, followed by opportunities to play traditional Korean games. Community members and students were encouraged to participate in all the games as well as try on traditional garments to learn more about Korean culture.
“We usually want them to learn about Korean culture…,” said SooWoong Hwang, sophomore in mechanical engineering, president of KSA. “We want them to enjoy the culture first, and then have interest naturally; that’s why we do it.”
Members of KSA met a week prior to the event to begin planning. This year, the event was organized differently. In previous years, the event included an informational PowerPoint but this year, traditional games were introduced.
“We get a meeting after I chose some officers… we had many meetings together and discussed together,” Hwang said. “Previous times, we would have a PowerPoint and just eating lunch… we wanted to change, we wanted to make it more fun than the other. That’s why we are playing games.”
The traditional food was prepared by members of KSA and included dishes such as kimchi, tteokguk, and tteokbokki. Those who attended had the option to try three traditional Korean games, including the board game Yut Nori.
“The food and the games… they’re both very fun,” said Erick McCloskey, senior in biology and chemistry. “I’ve never celebrated (Korean New Year) before, so it was fun to come and be a part of the celebration.”
One of the main goals of the event was to increase cultural awareness and especially highlight Korean culture and their celebrations.
“Now the world turned into a global world… everything is connected,” Hwuang said. “Now we’re not only living in our own countries and to live in other countries we also need to know about the other culture. We want to make it a little easier to others with this event and help them to step over to the global world.”
McCloskey attended the event with her Pitt Pal, who is a member of KSA, and believes it is important to experience celebrations other cultures may have.
“It’s so rewarding to be able to experience other cultures with people in that culture,” she said. “…it’s just such a rewarding and precious experience- everyone should try.”
ViVi Lin, junior studying English, an exchange student from Taiwan said she also enjoyed learning about the Korean culture.
“It’s always fun to hang out with these Korean friends and I get to experience a lot of Korean culture and see how they make Korean food, and I also get to wear the traditional Korean outfit,” Lin said. “As an exchange student here, I not only get to experience American culture but also from other countries… so it’s very cool.”