Rotary Club to celebrate the Korean New Year at Mago Café, Jan. 25

SEDONA, AZ – Dec 23, 2008 – Sedona area residents and visitors are invited to join the Rotary Club of Sedona’s celebration of the Korean New Year, called “Seollal,” on Sunday, January 25, 5:00-8:30 p.m., at Mago Café in Uptown Sedona. This is one day before the actual lunar New Year according to the Asian Zodiac.

Ushering in the Year of the Ox, this New Year is the most important holiday in South Korea, as it is in China, Japan, Mongolia, Tibet, and Vietnam – for a total of 1.7 billion people.

Cosponsoring this New Year event is the Korean-American Association of Sedona, which is responsible for the dazzling entertainment planned. Amy Ko, the Association’s president, will serve as the master of ceremonies and explain Korean New Year’s customs.

The Rotary Club’s Korean New Year event will combine the full range of traditional elements of a Korean family celebrating the day. The Sedona event will feature Korean tea, fortune telling, ancestor ceremony, lavish foods and beverages, drumming and gongs, entertainment, singing, and traditional games, and elder’s gift giving.

The Korean New Year event is the second event – the first was the Jewish New Year/Rosh Hashanah – to be sponsored by Rotary Club in its “New Years All Year Around” series of authentic traditional ethnic new years occasions available in the Sedona community.

Korean Phoenix
Korean Phoenix. The Phoenix, or Firebird, is one of five noble animals associated with the five elements of Eastern tradition.

Linda Wallace, President of The Rotary Club of Sedona, states, “Our Club is part of Rotary International, a world-wide service organization dedicated to providing services to those in need, and promoting world peace and understanding. With this series of ethnic new year events, we are honoring and celebrating Sedona’s surprisingly diverse ethnic population.”

Wallace adds, “Because of the friendly Korean ethnic presence in Sedona – the Korean-American Association of Sedona, Korean-style restaurant of Mago Café, with Mago meaning Mother Earth, and other Korean-origin holistic health organization in the area – it was natural for the Rotary Club to chose to celebrate the Korean New Year.”

In South Korea, 48 million people focus on the family, friends and community as they celebrate the start of the New Year. Children put on new traditional clothes, and bow to their ancestors’ altar and elders. Family members wish each other prosperity and good fortune. Then they exchange gifts, with children receiving lucky money, candy, and fruit. At the end of the day, friends and relatives join together for a big dinner to renew their friendship.

The Rotary Club’s event begins with guests welcomed with Korean tea at Sedona Story, on the 1st floor or below the Mago Café. They can have their fortune told for the year ahead, using the lore of the Asian Zodiac.

Korean Fan Dance.

At the Mago Café, guests will observe the Ancestors Ceremony, performed to honor and ask blessings from one’s ancestors.

At the buffet, the main courses will feature typical home-style traditional New Year delicacies, including rice cake soup, steamed vegetable dumplings, sweet potato noodles and vegetable salad, pancakes (with shrimp, tofu and vegetables), sliced beef, roasted chicken, white and multigrain rice, and kimchi (spicy pickled vegetables). Among the exquisite deserts will be sweet rice cake, rice punch, and cinnamon-ginger tea.

Traditional New Year entertainment – originally held in villages and these days shown on South Korean TV – will include flute and harp players, and the amazing fan dancer. The easy-to-learn and fun game of “Yutnori,” with its four sticks, will be played in pairs.

The Koreans at the event will sing “Arirang” (Joy of Finding Your True Self), the only ancient song still popular in both South and North Korea. Finally, a “grandfather” will give out “Saibae,” envelopes of surprise gifts, to all the guests.

The Korean New Year event will be held at Mago Café, 2nd floor, 207 N. Highway 89A, at Forest Road, across from the Sedona Chamber Visitors Center, 928-204-1047. Mago Café is well known in Sedona for its authentic Korean cuisine and creative American foods, in a comfortable setting, with a spectacular red-rock view and friendly service.

Cost of a reservation is $50 per person. Half of that amount is tax deductible, as the Rotary Club is a nonprofit organization. Proceeds from the event will go to The Rotary Club of Sedona Endowment Fund for local scholarships, projects to benefit the community, and the global eradication of polio with a matching grant from the Gates Foundation.

Seating at Mago Café is limited to 50 guests. Reservation are available online with credit card or a PayPal account, at http://www.SedonaRotary.org; or in person at Desert Hills Bank, 2785 West Highway 89A, Sedona, 928-282-7440. For more information, call Larry at 928-202-0010.

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