The Great Chuseok Party
flying large rectangular white kites with sturdy stays, a big circle cut out of the center, and several tails. The kites fluttered, flew, crashed, fluttered, flew, crashed. The children kept running. I picked up an abandoned kite and examined how differently this Korean kite was constructed from the Chinese kites I had been learning to make.
Chuseok (pronounced choo-sock) is a Korean harvest festival that usually falls in September or October. Much like Thanksgiving and Moon Festival and Sukkot, it is a time for families to come together and celebrate the end of the harvest season. Just like we always have turkey at Thanksgiving, a big family feast with special Chuseok foods is also at the center of this holiday. Children play favorite games. Everyone takes time to enjoy the beauty of the full moon, the largest of the year (it's known as the harvest moon in the West).
The Nam Center's event is a celebration not only of the Chuseok festival but also Korean and Korean American culture. We enjoyed the wide variety of performances both traditional and contemporary, including Sinaboro, the U-M's well-known traditional Korean drumming troupe; a haunting and beautiful traditional salpuri dance based on shamanistic exorcism rituals performed by a graduate student in dance; KDM, a contemporary Korean dance troupe; and a group of b-boys breaking it down.