IRVINE | January 15, 2012
The city's third annual Korean Cultural Festival was held Saturday afternoon at the Irvine Civic Center Plaza where hundreds gathered to celebrate National Korean-American Day, a day declared by U.S. Congress through H.R. 487 and S.R. 283 in 2003 and by California Assembly through H.R. 38 as January 13th, the date of which was chosen due to the date the first wave of 102 Korean immigrants left Korea in 1903. The City of Irvine recognized January 13th as Korean-American Day permanently in 2008 (Item 6.4 Jan. 8th, 2008) even though this 2012 the celebration took place on January 14th. Irvine is home to numerous first and second generation Koreans.
"The festival is designed to share the Korean culture, customs, heritage, arts and food with the community to promote the peace and harmony among the people of diverse cultural and ethnic background, and at the same time to commemorate the Korean-American Day, which is January 13th of each year," according to the festival committee. The festival is also big business, with sponsorships from Kia, Hyundai, Chase, Southern California Edison, Verizon, Kaiser Permanente, Citibank, and the name-dropping is endless. Donations are also tax-deductible through the festival's organizer, the Korean Cultural Center, a non-profit organization classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity with a 50% deductibility limitation.
Music and dance were central to the festivities Saturday in Korean tradition showcasing Korea's fan dance performed by the YuMi Dance Team, the traditional drum dance, Korean children's songs interpreted by the Bethel Children's Choir, a Tae Kwon Do demonstration, a kimchi making demonstration and so much more.
Booth exhibitions abounded with Korean brush painting from the Korean American Brush Painting Association, Han Bok (Traditional Korean Clothing) from the Leehwa Traditional Korean Dress, Korean paper crafts from the Grace Jang Craft Art Studio and mixed media from Kyungja Kim's Art.
Activities for children included a talent contest, Tae Kwon Do and an interactive cultural experience.
The festival, of course, would not have been complete without traditional Korean food. Providing euphoric sensations to the palate were Korean BBQ, bibimbap and kimchi, and numerous other titilating hors d'oeuvres.
Naenyeon kkaji (read phonetically).