Adventures of an American Seoul-Sister

Adventures and Observations of an American Seoul-Sister

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Korea's Got Talent!: The After Party

After Pyrotechnic Boy managed to slide his prize off stage and the show officially ended, I witnessed the group collective consciousness of Korea kick into action.  If I'd ever felt like a termite in an ant colony, this was the moment.  Slightly larger and off-color, I did my best to fit in when, as if moved by an invisible force, all the Koreans, all at once, stood up and began putting away the chairs they'd been using for the show.  This was a surprising activity for me since, as an American, I just assumed someone would come along later and put the chairs away for us.  Neverless, I joined in the removal.  

With all the chairs neatly stacked along the edge of the field, all that remained was a large rope-bound bundle of branches at its center.  I recognized the bundle because it was the same I had visited early in order to tuck my wish-filled paper under its ropes along-side those of several children.  I now watched the bundle be doused with gasoline by one group of men while another group of men carried and placed a maypole nearby. 

Once the maypole was in place, several people rushed to grab the red, yellow, and blue ribbons.  On stage, hanbok-clad women appeared and began singing folk songs.  On the field, still moving in unison, the crowd (termite included) formed a large circle.  I was encouraged to hold hands with my neighbors.  Circled and hand-clasped, all Koreans were neatly in place when...

Surprise! A ball of fire shot through the air, across the field, and set the wishing-stick-bundle into an explosive flame.  The children at the maypole began their ribbon twisting.  Everyone in the circle, still hand-holding, began moving around the circle to the right.  Then, suddenly, to the left.  Then, the right.  Then, the left again, all moving together and changing direction in perfect unison (except for the termite who was mostly confusedly dragged along).  Then, the circle stopped and let go of each others' hands and began massaging the back of the person on their right.  Then, they turned and massaged the person on their left.  After that, we faced center field and again clasped hands which were happily swung to and fro while singing a song which, of course, everyone between 2 and 92 knew by heart (but not the termite).   

Then, making a deep mutual bow towards the center, they all at once decided that it was time to go home, and just like that they were gone. Good night!


  1. that must have been their version of Autumnal Equinox celebration:)

  2. Something about it sounds like they could be kin to the Whos'in Whoville!