Asian cultures celebrated at Night Market

This past Saturday night, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Asian Students in America hosted a Night Market event in the Centennial Student Union. 

Members of the executive board took to the stage towards the beginning of the night thanking everyone for attending. “We really appreciate you coming to visit,” said treasurer Alex Sivongsay. “We hope you all have fun!”

The night highlighted various aspects of Asian cultures, ranging from dances to food to clothing. The event included many performances and games. One of the night’s attractions was a dance group called DTG Dance. The group performed a traditional dance known as a Lion Dance, which involves pairs of dancers in colorful lion costumes interacting with the crowd. The lions joyfully played with audience members, performing acrobatic tricks and accepting donations in their mouths.

Dancer Julie No said the dance is a Vietnamese and Chinese traditional dance.

“It’s kind of like a symbol of good luck, and it stems from lions scaring away bad luck and evil,” said No. “It’s a very flexible form of dance. You kind of just follow along whatever story it [the dance] is telling.”

Freshman Alexander Yang was impressed.

“I really loved watching the Lion Dance,” he said. “They are really talented.”

DTG Dance hails from Minneapolis, with many members attending the University of Minnesota. The group originally started at a church and has grown in members over the last six years.

“We love to share our culture and serve our community and show everyone a little piece of what us and our families brought here to America,” said No. “It’s just something that we really grew to love and have a passion for.”

Another aspect of the night market uncluded an open mic event, the first of the performers being MSU student Jer Yang. Yang performed a spoken word piece titled “I’ve Been Told,” which detailed comments she has been told about her identity in being Asian. 

“I have a voice,” read Yang. “I am smart, I can be loud when I want to, I am strong. The anger I have goes to society, and it goes towards me- especially me.”

The event also featured a variety of booths, including a snack booth with a selection of foods from different Asian countries, a table for donations for the DTG Dance group, and tables with diverse cultural information and clothing from assorted countries. 

Included in the row of booths was a raffle table of prizes those in attendance could raffle off. Included in the baskets were blankets, snacks, and even a 25 pound bag of rice. 

All of these booths were run by volunteers either involved with Asian Students in America or knew those who were. 

“I heard about the event from my roommate, who is the president of Asian-American Affairs. I also heard from another roommate that they were looking for volunteers,” said Eun Yueong Kang, who helped run the snack booth.

Along with viewing the various events taking place, students enjoyed attending the market to show their support of the cultures.

“I love doing things to support Asian-American Affairs, and I was glad to see a lot of people I am close with running booths,” said MSU junior Gaoshua Yang.

Header Photo: Asian Students in America hosted a Night Market where students were able to learn about various Asian cultures. (Maddie Behrens/The Reporter)

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