Burpee Museum Rings In The World's New Years

Dec 31, 2019

It's still 2019 in Illinois, but Burpee Museum of Natural History started celebrating a different country's new year every hour starting at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Instead of blowing on store-bought noisemakers and throwing mylar confetti, Burpee opted for a more earth-friendly celebration. They tossed ginkgo leaves and shook handmade noisemakers that were filled with dried seeds. And instead of shooting fireworks, Grand Marshal Betsy Carlson led guests throughout the museum on a festive, instructive parade where they learned about different cultures through dance, music, costume and language.

From L-R: Grace Kim-Ateca, William Koloch, Angelene Ateca, and Micah Koloch.
Credit Connie Kuntz

Grace Kim-Ateca was born in Seoul, South Korea and lived there until she was seven years old. She was one of the "New Years Around the World" particpants and taught guests how to say "Happy New Year" in South Korean, and shared information about some of South Korea's New Year's traditions.

"Asian cultures have great respect for their elders. On New Year's, the kids carry little pouches called 'blessing pouches' and give them to their elders. The people who receive the pouches reward the children with money and candy. The children love it," she said.

Grace also talked about the kite flying tradition. She said the winters in Seoul are mild compared to Illinois winters.

"They don't have a very cold winter, but they still have some snow. People really enjoy walking around outside and a lot of kite flying is being done at that season."

Grace's 16-year-old daughter Angelene Ateca was there, along with two of her friends, brothers Micah and William Koloch. Micah holds a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo and William holds a 2nd degree. The brothers shared a Korean Taekwondo demonstration with the guests and Angelene taught guests about Korea at her booth. 

Adaliz Cardona represented Mexico through costume and dance.
Credit Connie Kuntz

Korea wasn't the only country represented. Mexico, Italy, Sweden, Syria, Ireland, the Congo and many others were well represented.

Burpee has been hosting "New Years Around the World" for many years.