Celebrating Chuseok

Although Americans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving until November, growing up as a Korean-American meant that I was actually able to partake in a round of feasting and fall festivities a month or two in advance! Instead of Thanksgiving, I celebrated Chuseok (almost like a Korean version of Thanksgiving!), which falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, and this year, it occurred just over a week ago on October 4th. This was my first year not being able to celebrate with my family and although it was a little sad, it did allow me to reflect a bit on all the years of festivities I was able to experience in the past!

Through all my years of elementary school, I was more-or-less forced to attend Korean school on Saturdays to, of course, learn Korean, but also to learn about my home country’s history and culture. While I dreaded waking up on Saturday mornings to go over grammar and mindlessly take spelling quizzes, I always looked forward to the huge carnival the school hosted every Chuseok. From sampling bite-sized cuts of traditional autumn fruits, like apples, Korean pears, and persimmons to chowing down on paper plates filled with fish and meat pancakes, the Chuseok carnival was filled with endless good eats that simultaneously satisfied my taste buds and taught me a thing or two about my culture. Aside from food, my friends and I used to entertain ourselves by checking out the booths; each one had old-school Korean games that according to my mom, were reminiscent of her childhood days spent on her schoolyard. Our go-to game was jaegichagi (aka Korean hackey-sack), and it never failed to spur fierce competition amongst our friend group. Overall, Chuseok during my childhood centered around days filled with food and friendly competition, but the holiday itself has come to mean much more than that.

Although my Chuseok festivities in the United States usually only involved a large meal with my immediate family and other family friends, I know from phone calls with my extended family that the holidays bring so much more— from elaborate memorial services to passed loved ones in the morning to extremely elaborate family feasts, Chuseok is, to put it simply, a big deal. Paying respects to ancestors is taken anything but lightly; my aunts and uncles tell me about family trips to clean family tombs and offer food and drink to immediate ancestors. While I’ve never had the chance to partake in these traditions in person nor knew about the weight of their importance as a child, I now recognize the immense value in these activities as well as our smaller-scale celebrations back here in America. Even though the festivities vary by family and location, Chuseok always seems to center around the togetherness that the fall harvest brings— it’s a holiday that unites tradition, family and fun.

2017-2018 Kickoff Concert

2017-2018 Kickoff Concert

Hi everyone! My name is Casey Huang and I am the APASA Communications Chair! If you don’t know who I am, I’m that annoying guy that sends out the newsletters every week. I’ll be telling you about my experience with our annual Kickoff Concert – as an E-Board member and as a performer.

Although I’ve been to the APASA Kickoff Concerts each year ever since my freshman year, this was the first year I was asked to perform in it as a part of KASA Freshman Dance-Off Board and open the show this year. Though we were scheduled to perform it on September 8th, Sara reached out to me in early July to secure a spot in the lineup. Thus we were already preparing throughout the second half of the summer break, and met up frequently during the first few weeks of school so that we would be able to execute a presentable performance for the audience members. This was also really exciting for me because it would be the first time I debuted my own choreography and showed it to other people. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to be happy with what I produced, but overall, I am more than happy with the results.

USC KASA Freshman Dance-Off Board opening the Kickoff Concert

USC KASA Freshman Dance-Off Board opening the Kickoff Concert

This year, since the performers that we invited to come were current USC students, there was a big difference with the vibe that surrounded the event. To me, it felt more intimate and warm – whether it was students cheering on their friends while they performed, or just the general ambiance of how everyone was. As always, many students attended this event and sat around the E.F. Hutton Park stage on the blankets, along with food that was provided by APASA, delicious boba milk tea, and Hubert’s lemonade.

At the end of the performances, we also had a captivating discussion and Q&A for the performers that was led by our E-Board members. The audience was thoroughly excited with the performances, and the event was overall very successful!

 

Thank you to Byron Li for the pictures!

APA Leaders: Amy Chau

APA Leaders: Amy Chau

Hey everyone, hope finals week has been treating you all well! Last but not least, we are proud to present our sixth and final APA Leader for 2017, Amy Chau! Amy has been heavily involved in APASA as an intern, Events Coordinator, and External Community Chair. She is also involved as an Event Coordinator for SCAPE, an active member in VSA and an APAA scholar. Read her interview below to learn more!

APA Leaders Questions
Name: Amy Chau
Major: Business Administration, Pre-Law, Minor in Law & Society Year: Senior, Class of 2017

APA Leaders: Constance Chan

APA Leaders: Constance Chan

Hey everyone! Hope you are all ready for classes to end! Today, we’re presenting our fifth APA Leader for 2017, Constance Chan! Constance is currently the Co-President of SCAPE and created the Unite the Mic series! Read her interview below to learn more!

Name: Constance Chan

Major: English (Creative Writing)

Year: Senior