Warrior Country community experiences Korean culture
April 17, 2009
CASEY GARRISON -Warrior Country community members experienced a piece of Korean culture and history during a Korean Tea Handling Ceremony at the Dongducheon Volunteer Center, March 31.
"The event aims to bring Korean cultural awareness to military Families in the USAG-Casey/Hovey area," said Sally Hall, USAG-Casey Community Activities Center manager who brings many Korean cultural events for community members to experience; the first being a showcase of Chuseok celebrations in September 2008.
Participants in the event met at the Casey CAC where a bus transported them to the Dongducheon Volunteer Center. The participants moved to the auditorium where Mayor Oh Sechang, of Dongducheon welcomed everyone with a few remarks about ancient Korea and its tea history.
"This country values the tea ceremony in a different way," Oh said. "China values its fragrance, Japan values its color, and Korea values its flavor and elegance. For today's tea ceremony I would like all to experience the appropriate greeting and etiquette through the tasting of various teas."
After Oh spoke, children from a local school demonstrated the proper etiquette for an official tea handling ceremony to the audience so they would know what to do.
The children showed how to bow during the ceremony and how, when drinking the first three times, the drinker is to place the tea on their navel and look at the color, then drink from their heart, after which the drinker is to smile in their heart before drinking for the second time. The third drink from the cup is where the drinker tastes the tea's flavor.
Christine Drain, a family member, watched the children and was impressed with the importance tea ceremonies were to Koreans.
Next, the school children led the group of participants to the third floor of the Dongducheon Volunteer Center where they participated in their own Korean tea handling ceremony, drinking tea provided by the Myung Won Cultural Foundation.
After the ceremony, the group tried more tea in an informal environment with additional refreshments before returning to USAG-Casey.
"The event went well," Hall said. "Educating the participants about the history and traditions of tea ceremonies in the orient, highlighting the cultural significance of tea ceremonies in Korea, is a good experience. Some of us are here for only a year or two and experiences such as this are rare and give unusual insight to Korean culture."