Celebrate the New Year, Celebrate Korea

By Diem Nguyen

I had the pleasure of being invited to celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Korea Society in Manhattan this year. This was my first time attending, and frankly I was not sure of what to expect. My New Years normally consists of drinking and dancing and eating delicious food. The Korea Society’s New Year was even better than I had pondered. There was an open bar of various wines and cocktails and Soju, (Korea’s most popular alcoholic beverage). In addition, there was a buffet of savory Korean food varying from kimchi, bulgogi, dumplings, cold noodles, and pastries. There was also a cinnamon sweet tea (Su Joong Gwa), which is traditionally consumed during the New Year. It was sweet and had the cinnamon kick to it.

I was able to meet a few individuals who were basically there alone waiting on their friends, who were probably going to show up in the second session of the party. The first session seemed to be more of an older crowd. I felt less awkward and alone once I told them I was here from AsianInNY1.There was a live show! The show turned out to be two young, talented musicians who called themselves “DoJo”. “DoYeon Kim & Jonas Kublickas are both students pursuing their Masters degree at New England Conservatory, where they are a pioneering ensemble combining Gayageum, a Korean zither-like instrument, and classical & electric guitars” (Korea Society). DoYeon Kim was a master at her trade because she played the Gayageum ever so beautifully. The combination of the two different instruments was complimentary because it brought something different to the party. I enjoyed it very much.

After the performance, the head of the Korea Society Mark M thanked us for being there and introduced General Sohn, who gave a lovely speech. He talked about having dreams and the meaning of this Lunar New Years’ animal zodiac, the Sheep and how he did intensive research on the sheep and what they represent. The sheep has characteristics such as sticking together as a herd to avoid danger and that they are only strong if they are together in a herd. General Sohn, definitely knew what he was talking about and I think it made everyone in the room gain a little more perspective on the idea of togetherness.

Later on, the raffle began and I understood why I was given a ticket in the beginning when I first arrived to the party. The raffle included winnings of movie tickets, books, DVDs, karaoke machines and other great gifts. I thought to myself, I could not possibly win this raffle, I am not that lucky but to my surprise they called my ticket number and I won something! The odds were in my favor and I was able to score a Korean DVD called “The Recipe” which is a comedy, love story, about cooking, also I received tickets to the Museum of Moving Image for a screening of a Korean action movie series! People were so happy and then it was time for the second session in which I also attended just to see DoJo perform again.

All in all, the Korean Society’s New Year party was a lot of fun and eye opening for me. From the food, music and raffle prizes. I must say it was a success and I am looking forward to what 2015 have in store for Korea Society and me.

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