|German Ambassador to South Korea Rolf Mafael (center) toasts guests during a reception celebrating “The Day of German Unity,” Germany’s National Day, at a hotel in Seoul on Tuesday.|
The most anticipated event of the year in the foreign diplomatic community was interrupted Tuesday by the threat of Tropical Storm Danas.
The German Embassy’s celebration of “The Day of German Unity” was moved from the charming tiered garden at the German ambassador’s residence to the grand ballroom of the Millennium Seoul Hilton hotel as a precaution against possible rain.
Danas did not hit Seoul on the night.
It was the first time the Unity Day celebration in South Korea was moved from the residence in the 23 years of German unity celebrations here, according to one long-time German expatriate who said he has attended every year.
While he could not confirm whether the event had never been moved, German Ambassador to South Korea Rolf Mafael did say: “We regret that for the first time in decades the reception cannot take place in the residence,” during his welcome speech.
German Unity Day is celebrated on Oct 3. It marks the day in 1990 when East Germany was re-unified with West Germany.
Thousands of people walked through the historic Brandenburg Gate to symbolize the union between the two Germanys on that day. The celebration traditionally includes speeches by politicians, free concerts, communal meals and a fireworks show in the evening.
Tuesday’s reception highlighted the southern German state of Bavaria and featured guest of honor Hartmut Koschyk, a representative in Germany’s Bundestag, the country’s legislature. Koschyk is also co-chair of the German-Korean Forum.
By Philip Iglauer (ephilip2011@heraldcorp)