JEDDAH: Newly appointed Consul General of South Korea Woo Hong-Koo and the Korean International School in Jeddah recently held their annual cultural festival at the school, drawing the participation of over 500 visitors.

The festival introduced locals to Korean heritage and culture through crafts, food, music, talent shows, games, and traditional clothing.

Volunteers welcomed visitors with samples of Korean pear, Ginseng tea, and dried persimmons.

“This is my first time trying the dried persimmons,” said Heba Al-Zubairy, 32. “I love dried fruits, and this one is joining the fruits I like. It’s really sweet and melts in your mouth. I really like it.”

Visitors also had a chance to try traditional clothes, like the multi-layered hanbok for women, and take pictures at the photoshoot area.

At the handicraft section, festivalgoers made paper fans and wind chimes, while the culinary section introduced locals to Korean favorites like bibimbap — a dish of steamed rice with vegetables, mushrooms, meat, and fried egg — and kimbap, steamed rice wrapped in a sheet of dried seaweed with vegetables or meat and topped with sesame seeds.

“I made both dishes because I wanted to try the flavors of Korean cuisine,” said Fatema Elbathy, 28. “I didn’t know making healthy and delicious food was this simple.”

Taghreed Al-Sulaimani, 23, said: “I only made kimbap because it’s easy to make and it’s my comfort food, you can say.”

Attendees also had the chance to play Korean instruments like the janggu (a double-faced drum), jing (a gong hung on a frame), kkwaenggwari (a hand-held gong), and buk (a single-faced drum) — the main four instruments used in traditional cultural celebrations in Korea.

The new consul general in his speech thanked the people, saying: “On behalf of the Korean residents of Jeddah, I welcome you all here at the Korean Cultural Festival. I am delighted to gather with all of you here at the Korean International School, where we had the opportunity to serve Korean food and products. I hope it comes to your liking.

“They say, ‘You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed,’” he continued. “Maybe I could count the number of people attending this festival, but I can’t count the amount of love each of you holds in your heart for Saudi Arabia and Korea.

“I hope the festival could help in deepening your love and interest for Korean culture, so you can become the bridge that connects the two countries.”

The talent show featured a number of participants who performed Korean pop songs, and the night concluded with three winners who received prizes and lucky draws for 30 people, who received gifts representing Korean culture.

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