Virginia celebrates its first Kimchi Day on November 22 in recognition of the state’s thriving Korean-American community.
The Virginia Kimchi Day Bill proposed by the legislature Irene Shin (D, VA-86) was adopted by the Virginia General Assembly on February 10. The state is now second after that California launched its own kimchi day last year.
Virginia’s chosen date coinciding with Korea’s Own Kimchi Day Celebration, representing the 11 main ingredients of the dish and its 22 health benefits.
The celebrated dish of fermented cabbage smothered in gochugaru red paste is an integral part of Korean culture and a symbol of Korean identity and pride. In 2013, UNESCO designated the practice of kimjang (김장), or the process of creating and transmitting kimchi, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Korea.
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Rep. Shin, the first Korean-American to take a seat in the Virginia House of Representatives, said DCist that the day marks the celebration of “the cultural diversity and heritage that makes our society and our Commonwealth so great today.
“We are home to one of the largest Korean populations in the country,” the lawmaker said during the Rules Committee hearing on the resolution. “The communities of Annandale and Centerville in Northern Virginia are vibrant and busy population centers and hubs.”
On Saturday, the Korean American Women’s Association and ASIA Families celebrated the milestone by hosting a Kimchi Festival This included the ritual of making kimchi at Good Shepherd Evangelical Church in Springfield. About 150 attendees attended the celebrations and even got involved in making their own kimchi.
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Kimchi Day acknowledges how the US has embraced Korean culture, according to former House Legislature Mark Keam, a co-sponsor of the bill.
“By coming and bringing our stuff here, using it, and making it mainstream, we’re actually helping to create American culture,” Keam said The Washington Post.
South Korea introduced Kimchi Day as a federal holiday in 2020 Chinese state media claims that the dish is of Chinese origin. The claims came after the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) awarded global certification to “pao cai,” the Chinese version of kimchi.
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While Global Times called the certification “an international standard for the China-led kimchi industry,” the official ISO listing specifically states that the document “does not apply to kimchi.”
The holidays in California and Virginia contradict Chinese media claims, with bills stating that kimchi dates back to Korea’s historic Three Kingdoms period.
California Rep. Steven Choi even stated that the bill he was proposing was designed to do just that Correct China’s claim that kimchi comes from a traditional Chinese dish.
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Featured image above Ally J