Chuseok Celebration, 9 September 2019

Written by: Douglas Barrett  |  Posted on: September 11th, 2019

The British Korean Society Chuseok Dinner on 9 September 2019.

Chuseok – Korean Thanksgiving – falls at the most beautiful time of year in Korea. The heat and summer rains give way to clear early autumn skies, the temperature falls, and the leaves begin to turn golden brown. All of Korea is on the move before and during Chuseok – roads are jammed and train tickets at a premium – as families unite throughout the peninsula to give thanks for an abundant harvest. Chuseok falls on the eve of the harvest full moon, the largest and most visible moon of the year. It’s a thrilling sight and a wonderful time to be in Korea.

Ambassador Park welcomes members of the BKS

In the true spirit of Chuseok, Ambassador Enna Park invited the members of the British Korean Society to a celebration dinner at her lovely residence. During her welcoming remarks, Ambassador Park reminded us of the Chuseok family traditions. She noted that Korea and UK relations were as strong as ever. The UK was the second country to establish diplomatic relations with Korea, back in 1883. She spoke about the part played by Britain and British soldiers during the Korean war, that Korea was forever in their debt, and paid tribute to the veterans present at dinner. Ambassador Park also recounted the story of how British banks helped to fund Hyundai which went on to become one of the biggest shipbuilders in the world and a cornerstone of the Korean economy. She was also particularly pleased that Korean citizens could now use the eGates at airports in the UK, saving hours of queuing.

Chairman Martin Uden recounts the year’s BKS events

The Ambassador broke the exciting news that Korean President Moon Jae-In would visit the UK in 2020. Finally, she spoke about the important role played by the British Korean Society, noting that it was incumbent on all of us to help grow relations between our two countries.

Guests also heard from Martin Uden, Executive Chairman of the BKS and former Ambassador to Seoul. Martin recounted the impressive list of events the committee had overseen this year – and gave an update on both our proposed reception at the House of Commons and the possibility of an event for Veterans in late November. He also thanked the committee for their work, and most importantly thanked Ambassador Park for her hospitality.

We then heard a recital from Sung Cho-long on the Korean traditional zither, the Daejaeng, which is slightly larger than the Kayagum. She played “Arirang”, a traditional song “Sounds of Autumn Leaves” and finally the modern “Happiness” which is normally heard on the fast KTX trains in Korea.

Songpyeon, Korean traditional rice cakes

We ended the evening with some lovely Korean food including kimchi, bulgogi and japjae, followed by songpyeon, Korean rice cakes traditionally eaten at Chuseok.

Our thanks go to Ambassador Enna Park and her superb staff for a lovely evening.

Chuseok this year falls on Friday 13 September and in 2020 on Thursday 1 October.

 

 

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