About 40 Soldiers and family members from Camp Humphreys participated in the 2023 Pyeongtaek Moon Festival at Maesang Village in Poseung-eup, Pyeongtaek, on Feb. 4.
The Pyeongtaek Cultural Center has been hosting this event annually to celebrate ”Daeboreum,” or the Great Full Moon, a Korean traditional holiday celebrating the first full moon of the Korean lunar new year.
“This folk festival is for the harmony of the residents of the village,” said Yi Bo-Seon, Pyeongtaek Cultural Center director. “Traditionally, we pray for prosperity, health, and good luck for the new year on Daeboreum, and we burn a moon house to burn away bad luck.
This year’s Daeboreum Festival featured guest performances and speeches from Pyeongtaek Mayor Jang Seon-Jung among others. With more than 2,000 participants, the event surpassed all expectations, added Yi.
“It’s a great success this year with many Pyeongtaek citizens visiting especially USFK Soldiers and family members,” said Yi. “It is very meaningful for Americans to experience the traditional culture of our hometown and exchange culture.”
A variety of Korean traditional foods, games, and performances were provided at the festival. People enjoyed hot fish cake soup and red bean rice cake. Guests also had the chance to try ”ddokguk,” a traditional rice cake soup. Children enjoyed ”yutnori,” a Korean traditional board game, as well as “jegichagi,” a Korean traditional outdoor game in which players kick a “jegi,” similar to a hacky sack, into the air and attempt to keep it aloft with their feet.
“I’m having a really good time with my family," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Davis, 2nd Infantry Division, early in the festival. “There is lots of interesting Korean culture and good food. I liked the warm fish cake, and I’m looking forward to the moon house burning.”
The highlight of the event was the burning of the moon house, comprised of nearly 30-meters of wood and sheaves of rice. The large crowd had to back away several meters before the countdown, which ignited the structure in moments, lighting up the night sky. Many people watched as the fire burned, making wishes for the new year.
“Thank you for coming to the Moon Festival, which was held for the first time in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Yi said. “I hope this will be a place for family to find harmony despite difficult times due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.”