On October 12, 2019, the Korean-American volunteer organization, Hwarang Youth Foundation, organized the Hwarang Youth Festival. This was done to celebrate the LA City Council establishing May 5th, Children’s Day in Korea, as “Hwarang Youth Day.” “Hwarang Day” was also celebrated, which was recognized by the California State Senate and the House of Representatives on October 10, 2017. The Hwarang Youth Festival was held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at El Dorado East Regional Park. Hwarang Day’s anniversary was celebrated to establish, recognize, and encourage the activities of the Hwarang Youth Foundation.
The festival started with the Hwarang Youth Foundation president, Mr. Howard Park, giving an encouraging speech to the Hwarang members. Mr. Park stated: “This anniversary was established to instill pride for Korean youths living in America.” At 10 o’clock, after the speech, the Hwarang members organized into groups, consisting of four chapters each, to play dodge ball, yut nori, relay races, and other sports. The first game was dodge ball but with a twist. We applied a new rule which said that 8 balls would be used for one game, and if someone catches the ball from throwers, then the person who threw the ball is out. After dodge ball we played another game that is a Korean traditional pastime called yut nori. Yut nori is played by using 4 yut sticks instead of modern dice. Each stick has one flat side and one round side. The sticks are cast and tokens on board are moved according to how the sticks have landed. Whoever gets four tokens around the board first wins the game. After we finished all these activities we ate Korean food and relaxed for a bit. After an hour’s rest, we started other games such as pop the balloon, tug of war and gourd breaking. These three events are games played at sports events in typical Korean schools. While playing pop the balloon, each group became united and stayed together for tug of war, since they need to be in harmony. Gourd breaking is a game where a plastic gourd is hanging from above. Someone
throws the beanbag to break the gourd in half and take the gift that was put inside the gourd. We all had a lot of fun trying to hit and shatter the gourd. Finally, the last event left was the relay race. A total of 24 runners ran the six laps, and all of them did well. At last, there was the award ceremony with prizes given out according to the points earned from all the games. The winning group got to pick their prize and won a trophy.
This event helped those of us from the Los Angeles chapter become friendlier with the new members of the Hwarang Youth Foundation or those who came from other chapters. We all became friends and had a fantastic day.
Yoseop Kim, Grade 10
Crescenta Valley High School