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Maryland, Virginia celebrate first Kimchi Day

“Proclaiming the first Kimchi Day in state history is another way to celebrate our incredible Korean-American community and its many contributions.”
Kimchi in jars.

Story at a glance

  • The process of preparing kimchi was recognized by UNESCO in 2013 as an intangible cultural heritage in Korea. 

  • The states’ declaration coincides with Korea’s own recognition of the day.

  • California and New York also celebrate Kimchi Day.

Maryland and Virginia are recognizing Nov. 22 as Kimchi Day. 

Kimchi is a celebrated Korean dish made from fermented cabbage and Gochugaru red paste, although other variations may include vegetables like cucumbers and radishes. 

The date coincides with Korea’s own national Kimchi Day, marking the 22 health benefits of the food and the 11 different ingredients used to make the side dish. The dish is traditionally prepared around this time of year as well. 

California and New York were the first states to recognize Kimchi Day. 

The designation serves to celebrate Korean culture, as the dish is a symbol of Korean pride and identity. In 2013, UNESCO declared declared the process of creating and sharing kimchi, known as Kimjang, an intangible cultural heritage. 

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Yumi Hogan, the first lady of Maryland, is the first Korean-American First Lady in the United States, and hosts her own cooking series. The Maryland governor’s mansion is also the first in the nation to have a kimchi fridge, which preserves the dish at optimal temperatures for the best taste and texture.

“Proclaiming the first Kimchi Day in state history is another way to celebrate our incredible Korean-American community and its many contributions,” said Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in a release

“Our administration is proud of the special bond we have with Korea, and all we have been able to do to make those cultural and economic ties even stronger.”

In Virginia, the effort to recognize the day was spearheaded by state Del. Irene Shin (D), a daughter of Korean immigrants. Shin sponsored the bill that created Virginia’s holiday. 

“It’s finally here — Kimchi Day! Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed my resolution HJ147 to establish Kimchi Day in Virginia. I plan to eat all my favorite types of kimchi today in celebration — cucumber, radish, & cabbage of course!” Shin tweeted Tuesday morning

The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, which includes parts of Northern Virginia, is home to the third largest Korean American population in the country, according to the bill. Popularity of Korean food has also increased in recent years, as online searches for Korean cuisine has risen by more than 30 percent since 2012.