Chuseok Also Celebration for Koreans Overseas

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Chuseok Also Celebration for Koreans Overseas

By Machael
Contributing Writer

New York _ The spirit of Chuseok is alive and well, even half way across the world from Korea. In the United States, this Korean Thanksgiving holiday season is one of the few times of the year when busy-working Korean-Americans take time to celebrate with their families.

Local Korean-American associations, from California to Illinois to New York, also organize major Chuseok events around this time. For instance, the Korean-American Federation of Los Angeles has already had a four-day Korean festival from Sept. 13 to 16 in the Los Angeles Koreatown.

The association, representing one million ethnic Koreans in the region, took great care to offer something for everyone, from elderly immigrants to 1.5-and-second-generation Korean-Americans.

Various events during these four days included a Korean Chuseok parade, a music festival for teenagers and even a singing contest.

The association said the festival attracted more than 50,000 people and that it has become one of the biggest regional community celebrations in Los Angeles.

The federation has been organizing the annual festival for the past 34 years.

''We had Chuseok performances and dinners for elderly Koreans. We also organized events to attract second-generation Korean-Americans. We tried to help older and younger Koreans spend more time together and create 'jeong' (the Korean sense of kinship and affinity) between generations,'' the federation spokesman told The Korea Times.

The federation also paid special attention to provide events for ethnic Korean-Chinese, called ''Joseon-jok'' in Korean, who have emmigrated to the Los Angeles county.

''We'd like to showcase their heritage and also offer assistance to them when necessary.'' The festival is financed by corporate sponsors who set up booths at events to showcase their products.

They include local Korean-American businesses as well as Korean conglomerates such as Hyundai and Helio cellular-phone company.

On the east coast, Koreans in the New York region are waiting to see a number of big Chuseok-related events.

The Korean-American association is planning the 27th annual Korean parade for Oct. 6. This year, it will have traditional King's carriage procession in the city that will feature marchers in elaborate Korean costumes, as well as a variety of folk games and other Chuseok events.

And on Oct. 13 and 14, the Korean Produce Association will offer its 25th annual Korean Harvest festival. The group remains one of the most politically active and influential Korean associations in the country.

It was first organized by Korean produce retailers in New York to fight against racial discrimination by white wholesalers, and the association uses the festival as a platform to showcase Korean culture and heritage.

This festival, now in its 25th year, is one of the biggest Korean-American cultural events in the United States.

It features traditional music, "ssireum" Korean-wrestling competitions, Korean go-game tournaments and appearances by marquee-name Korean pop singers.

This year, SG Wannabe and Ivy are scheduled to perform, the association said.

''Many older Koreans attend the event, and we continue to make an effort to appeal to younger Korean-Americans.''

The New York region is home to some 500,000 ethnic Koreans. And of course, for many Korean-Americans, the Chuseok season means lots of Korean food, shared with families and relatives.

Hanyang Mart, which operates four major Korean supermarket stores on the east coast, said it sees a big boost in sales during Chuseok.

''We see a 50-percent increase in sales compared to normal times,'' the company spokesman said. Deluxe gift sets containing traditional dishes like preserved and salted seafood, as well as box sets of Korean pears and grapes, are popular among customers. The company said many Korean-Americans also arrange to have gift sets delivered to families and relatives in Korea.

''During the Chuseok season, our customers in the United States can pay for gift sets and our partner stores in Korea can make deliveries within a day or two.'' Specialty food stores that sell Korean rice cakes such as "songpyeon," ceremonial Chuseok foods and other prepared dishes are also seeing a huge boost in sales during this Chuseok season.

''We get more customers during this time of the year than during any other time,'' according to one owner of a Korean specialty-food store in New York.

''We get big orders for 'songpyeon' and other traditional Korean desserts and dishes this time of the year. There are many second-generation Korean-Americans buying food to give to their parents and relatives.'' And many Koreans in the United States also take time to honor and remember their ancestors during this Chuseok season. Korean-food stores estimate that about 10-20 percent of Korean-Americans may perform ceremonial Chuseok rituals at home to honor their ancestors during this holiday.
By Machael
Contributing Writer

New York _ The spirit of Chuseok is alive and well, even half way across the world from Korea. In the United States, this Korean Thanksgiving holiday season is one of the few times of the year when busy-working Korean-Americans take time to celebrate with their families.

Local Korean-American associations, from California to Illinois to New York, also organize major Chuseok events around this time. For instance, the Korean-American Federation of Los Angeles has already had a four-day Korean festival from Sept. 13 to 16 in the Los Angeles Koreatown.

The association, representing one million ethnic Koreans in the region, took great care to offer something for everyone, from elderly immigrants to 1.5-and-second-generation Korean-Americans.

Various events during these four days included a Korean Chuseok parade, a music festival for teenagers and even a singing contest.

The association said the festival attracted more than 50,000 people and that it has become one of the biggest regional community celebrations in Los Angeles.

The federation has been organizing the annual festival for the past 34 years.

''We had Chuseok performances and dinners for elderly Koreans. We also organized events to attract second-generation Korean-Americans. We tried to help older and younger Koreans spend more time together and create 'jeong' (the Korean sense of kinship and affinity) between generations,'' the federation spokesman told The Korea Times.

The federation also paid special attention to provide events for ethnic Korean-Chinese, called ''Joseon-jok'' in Korean, who have emmigrated to the Los Angeles county.

''We'd like to showcase their heritage and also offer assistance to them when necessary.'' The festival is financed by corporate sponsors who set up booths at events to showcase their products.

They include local Korean-American businesses as well as Korean conglomerates such as Hyundai and Helio cellular-phone company.

On the east coast, Koreans in the New York region are waiting to see a number of big Chuseok-related events.

The Korean-American association is planning the 27th annual Korean parade for Oct. 6. This year, it will have traditional King's carriage procession in the city that will feature marchers in elaborate Korean costumes, as well as a variety of folk games and other Chuseok events.

And on Oct. 13 and 14, the Korean Produce Association will offer its 25th annual Korean Harvest festival. The group remains one of the most politically active and influential Korean associations in the country.

It was first organized by Korean produce retailers in New York to fight against racial discrimination by white wholesalers, and the association uses the festival as a platform to showcase Korean culture and heritage.

This festival, now in its 25th year, is one of the biggest Korean-American cultural events in the United States.

It features traditional music, "ssireum" Korean-wrestling competitions, Korean go-game tournaments and appearances by marquee-name Korean pop singers.

This year, SG Wannabe and Ivy are scheduled to perform, the association said.

''Many older Koreans attend the event, and we continue to make an effort to appeal to younger Korean-Americans.''

The New York region is home to some 500,000 ethnic Koreans. And of course, for many Korean-Americans, the Chuseok season means lots of Korean food, shared with families and relatives.

Hanyang Mart, which operates four major Korean supermarket stores on the east coast, said it sees a big boost in sales during Chuseok.

''We see a 50-percent increase in sales compared to normal times,'' the company spokesman said. Deluxe gift sets containing traditional dishes like preserved and salted seafood, as well as box sets of Korean pears and grapes, are popular among customers. The company said many Korean-Americans also arrange to have gift sets delivered to families and relatives in Korea.

''During the Chuseok season, our customers in the United States can pay for gift sets and our partner stores in Korea can make deliveries within a day or two.'' Specialty food stores that sell Korean rice cakes such as "songpyeon," ceremonial Chuseok foods and other prepared dishes are also seeing a huge boost in sales during this Chuseok season.

''We get more customers during this time of the year than during any other time,'' according to one owner of a Korean specialty-food store in New York.

''We get big orders for 'songpyeon' and other traditional Korean desserts and dishes this time of the year. There are many second-generation Korean-Americans buying food to give to their parents and relatives.'' And many Koreans in the United States also take time to honor and remember their ancestors during this Chuseok season. Korean-food stores estimate that about 10-20 percent of Korean-Americans may perform ceremonial Chuseok rituals at home to honor their ancestors during this holiday.
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