Traditional Korean Items

Korean Cultural Center New York Celebrates the Korean Lunar New Year

Asia Korea

The Korean Cultural Center in New York held a “Seollal,” Korean Lunar Year celebration in their new building, the New York Korea Center, on February 24 and 25, 2024.

To celebrate the opening of the New York Korea Center, the Korean Culture Center New York (KCCNY) held Seollal (translated as Korean Lunar New Year) “K-Family Fest: Celebrate Seollal” celebration in the center as a kickoff event. “We really wanted to take this opportunity to open up our center and make it a living, breathing place and a place of community” said Mickey Hyun, Program Director of KCCNY. This initiative followed the KCCNY’s previous “It’s Time for K-Culture” campaign that took place in November and December of 2023 to promote Korean culture through diverse events related to food, performances, and art. KCCNY is part of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea, with the objective to both strengthen US and South Korea relations, as well to facilitate the spread of information regarding Korean culture.

The Korean Lunar New Year celebration occurred on February 24 and 25; which included diverse cultural programs and performances for families. The K-Family Fest: Celebrate Seollal was a two-day family event that brought together various cultural leaders and organizations to help with the event. Throughout the entire day, Korean traditional games were available for participants to play and interact with. There was also a “K-Culture Kit: Seollal” available for participants to learn different Korean phrases relevant to the new year and showcase their creativity with different templates to fill out.

In addition, during different times of the day, there was a musical performance, movie screening, cooking workshop, and book reading activities available for families to participate in. In collaboration with the Woori Show, the musical performance was held to showcase Korean traditions and celebrate the New Year together. In the book event, author Aram Kim gave a reading of her book “Tomorrow is New Year’s Day.” In collaboration with Ocon Studios, a production company from South Korea, participants had the chance to watch for free the newest Poporo movie called “Poro the Movie: Popstar Adventure” (2023). Lastly, for the cooking activity, Jennifer Ban, founder of Rice Blossoms, led a cooking class on how to make traditional Korean tteok (rice cake).

Overall, the event was successful, and participants enjoyed learning more about various aspects of Korean culture or reconnecting to and celebrating their Korean heritage. “Events like these are incredibly important because if we don’t preserve and pass down our Korean culture and heritage to the next generation, it will be lost here in America…[and]...gathering together with your family, your friends, or chosen community is an integral part of preserving our traditions, our customs, and truly our identity as Korean Americans” said Nari Kye, creator of the Woori Show to the East-West Center in Washington. KCCNY will continue to have different opening celebration programs coming up in 2024.

Tatiana Ostwalt is a Young Professional at the East-West Center in Washington DC. She is currently a Master of International Affairs student at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, studying International Economic Policy, Data Analytics and Quantitative Analysis, and East Asia.