A bow to common ancestors: the athletes of the two Koreas celebrate the new year together

As a rule, the celebration takes place at home with loved ones. The Unification Minister marks the celebration recalling all of the separated families and asks Pyongyang to welcome the proposal for new meetings.


Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) – With a deep bow to the memory of their ancestors and sharing of the traditional "tteokguk" meal, a soup with rice dumplings with eggs and beef. This is how the athletes of the two Koreas celebrated the new lunar year together at the Olympic village.

The Korean Sport & Olympics Committee prepared the table at the "Team Korea House" which houses the 220 Korean athletes in Gangneung, in the Gangwon province. In addition to the athletes Do Jong-hwan, Minister of Culture and the head of the committee Lee Kee-heung were also present. In the neighboring county of Inje, the North Korean cheerleaders celebrated the new year at breakfast, at the Speedium hotel where they are guests.

Traditionally, the meal of the wake for the new year takes place at home among family. Thanks to the Olympics, the athletes gave a sign of unity of the Korean "one family".

The Olympic athletes were not the only ones to spend the holiday away from their relatives: the drama of the "separated families" is still alive, broken apart by the 38th parallel that divides the North from the South in the aftermath of the 1950-53 war.

South Korean Unification Minister, Cho Myong-gyon, today called on the North Korea to accept the Seoul proposal to organize new meetings among the members of the families, who are increasingly elderly and afraid of not being able to meet again their loved ones before dying. Last year, nearly 3,800 of them died.

Cho also reiterated the new climate of dialogue and the "hopes of spring despite the cold winds", born through the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, the Olympics have entered their second week. South Korea currently has three medals, two gold and one bronze. Today the South Korean Yun Sung-bin has won the skeleton gold medal, a sport in which the athlete slides on an icy slope with a sled.

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