Celebrating holidays with family and friends is a staple in many cultures across the world. Recently the Republic of Korea observed Chuseok, a major harvest festival celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar on the full moon. Americans observe a similar holiday, Thanksgiving, which is set to be observed on Nov. 23.
Many of our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District employees are Korean-American or are a part of blended families. As a result of this, cross-cultural ties allow families to create their own unique traditions.
Ed Minnerly, Far East District logistics management specialist, originally came to South Korea as a Soldier in 1990 and two years later married his wife Suki, who is Korean-American. After leaving Korea in 2000, he later returned in 2002 to work in Uijeongbu, then began working in Seoul with the district in 2004.
Since his marriage in 1992 they have managed to find ways to celebrate the holidays with their immediate and extended family.
According to Minnerly, in the past they would celebrate Chuseok by going to a temple for a memorial service remembering his wife’s family members that have passed away.
“Previously when her father was alive we would go to Busan and we’d do a memorial service in the house for her mother and other relatives who have passed, but recently that has kind of dwindled down,” said Minnerly.
For the Minnerly family, celebrating Thanksgiving has varied throughout their years together. Minnerly stated that some years they would go to the dining facility and enjoy a meal and other times they’ve hosted dinners at their home.
“The last thanksgiving meal in Uijeongbu we had 70 people at our house,” said Minnerly. “My wife and I were cooking for about four days. We prepared two turkeys, a 25-pound roast that we barbequed, pies, salads, and a mix of Korean and American style dishes.”
Blending of cultures has been seamless for the Minnerly family as they’ve managed to interweave the cross cultures of friendships they’ve built and create great memories.
“When we have Koreans come over we blend the Korean and American food, and they see the relation between Korean-American ways of coming together and celebrating something,” said Minnerly.