Students flocked to hovering white tents with different stations of food throughout Martin Square. Strings of lights, white paper lanterns and clear balloons filled with confetti created a celebratory atmosphere.
The sun began to set as students sat inside the square, socializing, laughing and dancing in front of the stage as they enjoyed cuisine from nations across the world and waited for the performances.
On Thursday, May 10, SPU students, faculty and friends gathered for the second annual Multicultural Celebration. The event was put on by both STUB and Catalyst as a part of Culture Week.
Junior Christie Pak, who is an event programmer at STUB and is the chair of the Multicultural Celebration, said, “Multicultural Celebration is a partnership event where we bring different cultures to campus; cultures that are represented on campus as well as cultures that are not.”
The Multicultural Celebration was the ending event of SPU’s Culture Week. One of the features of the event was having a variety of foods from different countries and regions. There was Hawaiian food, Caribbean food, Filipino desserts and Mexican tacos.
The cuisine was a main highlight for the students. According to first-year James Chung, “My favorite part was definitely the food, especially the mac salad with spam. I can assure you that it was one of the best dishes I have ever had in my life.”
Although the food may have initially attracted people to the event, the performances rivaled the food for many of the students.
First-year Anessa Woodby said, “My favorite part was the wide variety of dances we saw.”
Many different dance traditions were represented through the performances. There was Bollywood dancing, Mexican folk dancing, Greek dancing and Chinese lion dancing.
During each of the performances, the crowd cheered and clapped as the energy of the performers livened up the night.
Some of the dances were even interactive with the audience. At one point, after the Bollywood dancers took their bow, they asked the students to stand in front of the stage and taught them some of their dance moves.
The Lion dance is a traditional Chinese dance where the performers wear costumes that resemble lions and mimic the movements of the animal.
During the last performance, the lion dancers in their bright yellow and pink lion costumes danced their way through the crowd, playing jokes on the audience and even taking the crowd’s backpacks with the lion’s mouth.
Overall, the Multicultural Celebration was an upbeat and enriching night for the SPU community. The event’s goal of celebrating and understanding other cultures was a success in the eyes of the students.
“I think it’s important to spend time engaging with other cultures because all cultures are equally as important. Surrounded by so much diversity, it is important to have a deeper understanding of others’ lives and cultures,” Woodby said.
Chung thoroughly enjoyed the Multicultural Celebration and hopes to see it expand in the future to not only be an appreciative event, but also an educational event.
“I think it would be a good idea to offer different workshops or stations for students to physically engage and practice different cultures, such as a station teaching calligraphy or a station teaching how to make different cultural desserts,” Chung said.
“As a student from a minority background, I would love to learn more about other cultures, and also see my friends know more about my culture.”
Pak was also happy with the success of the night and wants to see it become a consistent part of campus life at SPU.
“I hope this event can continue in the future and is still an event where the community of SPU can come together and be able to celebrate with one another.”