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It is through pure resilience that Korean culture has flourished throughout history, as visitors to the Korean Pavilion this week will see in spades.

Christina Cho, co-coordinator of the Korean Pavilion and vice-president of the Korean Society of Manitoba for Fraternity and Culture Inc., says she has been taking part in Folklorama for the past three years.korea christina cho LEADChristina Cho used to be self-conscious of her Korean roots. Now, she's co-coordinator of the Korean Pavilion for the largest and longest-running multicultural festival in Canada.

"It's a huge, huge party," she smiled. "Just being part of the Korean community, serving people... I like that."

Cho first came to Canada in December of 1994 with her family at the age of 17. "It was a very eerie night, very cold."

Her first impression of Winnipeg? "I noticed that there wasn't (sic) very many tall buildings," chuckled Cho.

Though it was hard to leave Korea, Cho says her family has kept their culture alive since coming to Canada through language and food.

"That's what makes us Korean, what we eat," Cho said, laughing. "What you eat is who you are, I think. Eating Korean foods, having parties, and celebrating... I think that's how we keep our culture alive."

Cho herself cooks Korean foods most nights for her and her daughter to eat. Miyeok-guk, a Korean seaweed soup, remains the co-coordinator's favourite meal.

"It's for a birthday soup... new moms, as soon as they deliver the baby, it's the first thing they eat," she shared. "It reminds me of birthdays and... special times.

"It's about having your identity," explains Cho, who believes culture is something to honour. But she reminds us that that isn't always an easy thing to do.

Growing up, she explains there were times as a teen after she immigrated to Canada when she wanted to deny her culture because it didn't allow her to fit in.

DSC00858Yeyoung Won, one of the dancers for the Korean Pavilion, performs a traditional fan dance."I've lived here longer than I lived in Korea," Cho reflects. "I wanted to not have [an] accent, because I wanted to blend in."

She's happy to report now, however, that she has accepted her accent and takes pride in sharing her culture through the Korean Society and Folklorama.

"It makes me who I am, and it makes diversity (sic)."

The Korean Pavilion puts such diversity on display with its dramatic and gorgeous dancers, K-pop, taekwondo demonstrations, traditional music, delicious food, and festive decor.

The food especially, featuring delicacies such as kimchi and Korean sushi, are sure to delight any visitors to their pavilion, Cho says.

 It's a reflection of the resilience and courage that have allowed the continued growth of the Korean culture, according to Cho.

"Today, Korea is an amazing country. Economically, technologically, it's top-ranked... I'm very proud of it."

Visit the Korean Pavilion this week until Saturday, August 18, 2018, at the Masonic Memorial Temple (420 Corydon Ave.).

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Folklorama kicks off 2018 with official proclamation

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