“I feel like I’m in Korea again”: Korean Clubs KCC and KLEC host the Year of the Rabbit festival

Seollal Festival welcome sign projected on a whiteboard | Cindy Claros, PantherNOW

Cindy Claros | Contributing Writer

Hanboks, dancing and food: FIU celebrated Lunar New Year in style. 

Members of the e-board from the Korean Culture Club hosted the Seollal Festival collaborating with Korean Language Empowerment Club to spread awareness of Korean culture to the FIU student community on Jan. 20.

FIU students from multiple backgrounds gathered at the Graham Center to celebrate their passion for Korea’s culture and held performances from FIU K-Pop dance team Lynx.

Alexa Mendez-Garcia, a junior and president of KLEC, wanted to bring awareness and help differentiate cultures.

“When people think of Lunar New Year, they think about the Chinese Lunar New year,” said Mendez-Garcia. “So this is to bring awareness that Korea has its own twist, even if they share similarities. They do have their own tradition.” 

KCC members greet guests by the entrance at their gift tables. | Cindy Claros, PantherNOW

Nicole Brieva, a senior and president of KCC, organized this event despite the trouble of planning this with KLEC early in the semester and being unsure if people would show.

“We didn’t expect many people, but we are glad people came to support the culture,” said Brieva. “It was hard to host it since we started the semester, but we wanted to stay true to the Seollal festival.” 

Amanda Gonzalez, a junior and vice-president of KCC, also expresses how astonished she was when she saw the number of people arriving. 

“We’re delighted many people came,” expresses Gonzalez. “When I joined, it was smaller because of the pandemic and seeing it grow makes me happy.”

Tania Jimenez, KLEC e-board member standing in front of her Hanbok try-on table. | Cindy Claros, PantherNOW

The festival showcased performances from the dance group Lynx, singing, food, games, hanbok try-on, raffles and an educational PowerPoint slide about Seollal.

Riannah Hammond, a freshman at FIU, won first place on Kahoot and received a gift box prize. 

“I came with my friend and I also like K-Pop, so I just tagged along,” says Hammond. “It’s a cool event and showcases many of Korea’s aspects.”

They also were other games such as traditional 제기차기(Jegichagi), 윷놀이(yut nori) and 줄다리기(juldarigi tug-of-war). 

The traditional Seollal new year festival runs three days this year, from Jan. 20 to Jan. 23. Families travel long distances to celebrate with their loved ones to pay respect to ancestors, play traditional games, perform rituals and children bow to their elders to receive a small amount of money. 


Far left to right: kimbap, japchae and tteokbokki. Traditional Korean food being served to guests. | Cindy Claros, PantherNOW

Seung-Woo Lee, a Korean exchange student, said how similar this festival is compared to how it is back home. 

“The arrangement is perfect and very similar, especially the food they have here, like kimbap and tteokbokki,” says Lee. “I feel like I’m in Korea again. I won 11th place in Kahoot, meaning people here are more educated than I am in my culture. They appreciate and enjoy it here.”