Thanksgiving in Korea, in Pittsburg

|Audrey Dighans copy editor |

Everyone knows about Thanksgiving: pumpkin pie, pilgrims, turkey, football. That about sums it up for the holiday usually associated with the U.S. and the U.S. only. There is, however, Korean Thanksgiving and its history extends much farther back in history than the 1600s.
Nearly 50 students and guests attended Korean Thanksgiving on Saturday, Sept. 6, held at the United Methodist Campus Ministry.
“We are here to celebrate our Thanksgiving, a traditional holiday for us where we come together and eat, much like American Thanksgiving,” said Euna Kim, junior in English and international student from Korea. “Usually our whole family gathers together, but since we are all so far away from home we are hosting it here and inviting everyone.”
Kim and other Koreans at the event say Korean Thanksgiving is much like the American version. There are, however, two major differences.
“At Korean Thanksgiving many people pray to their ancestors,” said Seungeun Hong, international student in mechanical engineering and president of the Korean Student Association.
The second difference is Korean Thanksgiving occurs in August.
“That’s Aug. 15 in the lunar calendar, which is not the calendar we use now,” Kim said. “Today is really close to the actual day of Thanksgiving in Korea. We try to host all the holidays here at PSU as close as we can to the actual day.”
And just like the actual day in both Korea and the U.S., Thanksgiving was celebrated with food.
The tables were laden with large aluminum plates of food, all of which combined into one dish called Bibimbap. Bibimbap is a bowl of mixed rice, sesame sauce optional, with a variety of veggies piled on top, then beef and a sauce called Gochujang.
“This Gochujang isn’t so spicy,” Kim said. “Koreans like spicy.”
A soybean soup was also served to accompany the Bibimbap.
“A lot of people when they eat this think it is like Japanese Miso, but Korean soybean soup has a lot more flavor where Japanese Miso is more clear and has a much simpler taste.”
The final taste of Korea included plum tea.
“The plum tea is delicious,” said Karen Bowers, sophomore in special education. She and her friend Grace An, sophomore in international relations, brought two non-PSU friends to the event.
“I came to Korean Culture Day last year and made lots of friends with the exchange students,” Bowers said. “I wanted to come support them and knew these guys would like it.”
Hong was also pleased with the food and the event as a whole.
“We did expect a bit bigger of a turnout,” he said. “However, we did run out of food.”
Hong added the group will be doing more throughout the year to participate in the Pitt State community and provide more opportunities for non-Korean students to learn more about Korean culture.
The Korean students will participate in homecoming by building a float, will be one of the countries in the International Student Association’s Sounds and Taste of Nations event held later in the year and attend a study-abroad expo to provide students with first-hand information.

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Copyright 2018