A diverse audience joins in celebration of traditional Korean holiday, Alphabet Day

IMG_5235By Christian Spencer
In St. Mary’s Hall on Oct. 6, the University of Maryland community honored a holiday traditionally celebrated in Korea — Alphabet Day.
The Korean Language Program put together the event, which featured about an hour of festivities and began with an instrumental performance by Jung Soyeon.
Soyeon played the song “Sanjo” on the gayageum, a traditional Korean string instrument that has up to 21 strings.
Byun Jae Un delivered a solo dance performance to a folk song, titled “Salpuri.”
The third act was performed by both Jae Un and Soyeon, to the song “Harvest Moon Circle Dance.” The audience received a paper beforehand with translated lyrics for them to sing along to.
IMG_5241Also at the event was Robert Ramsey, an East Asian linguistics professor at this university. Ramsey has committed his 30 years of teaching to celebrating Korean culture, and hosted UMD’s first Alphabet Day more than two decades ago years ago. He said it has been exposed to a more diverse audience in recent years.

IMG_5226“When we first started, most of the [Korean] students were second generation, or what they called ‘one-and-a-half generation,” Ramsey said. “That’s not true anymore.”

Freshman marketing major Jordan Bryant said he liked the dancing segment of the event above all else.

“You’ve got people from all different backgrounds to celebrate a Korean holiday,” Bryant said.
The Korean Alphabet Day, also known as Hangeul Day (한글날), is a national commemoration of the invention and the proclamation of Hangul (한글; 조선글), the alphabet of the Korean language.
The event concluded with samples of Korean food and background music from K-pop artists.
“It is a celebration of a really beautiful, innovative way of life,” sophomore linguistics major Alexis Williams said.

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