Chusok unites traditional, modern

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September 25, 2007

4:08 PM

This Saturday, the Korean American Student Association will transform the University Center Commonwealth Auditorium to celebrate the Korean holiday Chusok. The Chusok Festival will feature singing, dancing and authentic Korean food, and is free for all students and their families.

p. “Chusok is one of Korea’s biggest holidays,” KASA President Se Won Chung ’10 said. “It’s basically what Americans would call Thanksgiving.”

p. Although Chusok traces its root back several centuries, this Saturday’s events will have a distinct mix of traditional and modern elements that will be evident throughout the night.

p. “Our goal is to share the festivities of this holiday with the William and Mary community by showing the origins and also the modern practices of a Chusok celebration through students,” Chung said.

p. The evening will begin with a performance that will feature singing, dancing and acting. The performance will tell the story of Chusok, and will show the passage of time through a shift from traditional performance art to more contemporary elements.
Following the performance, attendees will be treated to a customary Korean dinner.

p. “We’ll have traditional Korean holiday food,” Chung said. “We’ll also have popular modern dishes, like if you went to Korea and asked to have a typical Korean meal, those kind of staple dishes.”
Chung also said that the group has tried to provide something for all eating habits.

p. “This year, we paid attention to having vegetarian options for students who don’t eat meat,” she said. “We also paid attention to labeling food so that people know what they’re eating.”

p. Chung, a first generation immigrant whose family moved to the United States when she was younger, said that KASA’s goal is to promote culture.

p. “Most people on campus don’t know anything about Chusok,” she said. “A lot of our members aren’t Korean or are second generation, so even they weren’t sure what it was. I want to share a bit of Korean culture in the context of the rich history of Korea. My hope is that it will be fun, but also educational.”

p. KASA is expecting around 300 people, so Chung advised students to arrive at 5:30 p.m. when the doors open, although the show will start at 6. But she stressed that all are welcome.
“The festival is a very family-friendly event,” she said. “It’s Family Weekend and it’s free for everyone … Whether you know anything about Korea or not, come and learn about Chusok and experience a little bit of Korean culture.”

p. This is KASA’s biggest event, but the group will be active throughout the year, and new members are always encouraged. Meetings are at 7 p.m. in Blair 201 every Thursday.

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