During the first week of December, La Crescenta hosts an annual Christmas parade. Each year, a volunteer organization called KAYA (Korean American Youth Association) takes place in the parade. This year I had the honor to help and attend the parade. Many different organizations took part, and I was amazed by the number of different cultures that were celebrated. Ranging from martial arts to boy scouts, the parade made it feel like no culture was excluded.
KAYA took the role of representing Korean culture to our community. We had traditional Korean drums along with modern Korean music playing, which is easily recognizable to many, even if they are not Korean. Many people from our group wore Hanbok, traditional Korean clothing and students like me wore Christmas decorations, which is part of western culture. Even though we were representing Korean students, we used some parts of western culture to relate with the crowd and make it more familiar and recognizable.
As the parade commenced, I realized that there were a lot more people than I expected. Hundreds of people taking part in the parade, all from different organizations representing different things, and hundreds of other people in the crowd watching the parade, all from different backgrounds expecting different things. Our group was situated at the back of the parade, so it took us a while in order to be able to start walking.
To show the diversity of the parade, we were in between a teacher association and a taekwondo demo team. There was a news station broadcasting the whole event, so even people who couldn’t make it could watch and be exposed to different cultures and learn a lot about different people that coexist.
Events like this are fantastic, as they bring many out for a good time and allow them to learn about other cultures. I believe that large community gatherings are essential for citizens to be happier about where they live. I believe that every community should have such a gathering for citizens to socialize and bond. This has been a great learning experience for me and my peers. Not only did I have a lot of fun, I celebrated many different cultures as well. I highly encourage coming out to the next Montrose Christmas parade, as it is exciting for the whole entire family.
Jinje Jung, Grade 10
Crescenta Valley High School