“Festival of Asia” highlights a variety of Asian cultures

Carley Sonju
Staff Writer

The whole upper level of the CSU was transformed into a festival on Saturday night. 

Countries represented at the event included Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, just to name a few. 

The event was organized by the Kearney Center for International Student Services. The Festivals of Asia event is held once a year in November, and there has been a great turnout each year.

Minnesota State University, Mankato students represented their country with pride. Each group had a booth decorated with bright colors, photographs and information about their country including their history and heritage. Some even had cardboard cutouts of traditional dress from their country. Their displays were eye catching and interactive, allowing everyone to get involved with the festival. The intricacies they added to their displays did not go unnoticed. When people stopped to learn from each country, they stayed until they had soaked up all the information they could.

At the South Korea booth, there were examples of hanbok, or traditional Korean dresses. The clothing represents the Korean traditions. Attendees learned from this booth that normally the women wear a blouse shirt and skirt and the men wear a jacket and loose pants. The other booths also had their own way of representing their culture. Some booths included samples of writing, photos of popular tourist attractions or significant places in their country, flags and music.

The Ballroom was opened up to its full capacity, and all night long, the stage was occupied by performers from many different cultures across Asia. The performances were mostly singing and dancing. It was very eye opening to see how different cultures are expressed through song and dance.

One dance commonly performed in the country of India is called Bharatanatyam. This is considered to be the oldest traditional dance in India. The women wore a skirt, or Saree style costume. Other performances were both group and solo performances of either song or dance. 

The Kearney Center offers support for international students year-round. They prepare students for what it will be like studying at MNSU and living in Mankato. The mission statement, as written on their web page, reads, “In support of Minnesota State Mankato’s mission to break down barriers, create solutions and achieve great things, the Kearney Center: Recruits, orients, serves, and engages international students.” 

The Kearney Center provides support for a total of over 1,300 international students from more than 95 countries. On their page, you can find more events organized by the International Student Association, or ISA. Attending these events can help you gain perspective and learn about other cultures that many students don’t get a chance to see in rural Minnesota.

Header photo: Students display traditional Bangladeshi clothing during the Festival of Asia event in the CSU Ballroom Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019 in Mankato, Minn. (Samuel Oluwadoromi/MSU Reporter)

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