Many different cultures have come together in one place to share their culture with many people through food, games and more!
Ten different cultures came together to share authentic dishes and activities during the International Food Festival. Here, many people were able to see traditional outfits and learn about different cultures from people who grew up in the culture. At the off-campus festival, attendees were able to experience the unification of different backgrounds after a long period of social isolation.
On March 27, the World Mission Society Church of God hosted the International Food Festival, where members from different walks of life were able to share their culture with many people. People from 10 countries participated in the festival. The nations represented were Greece, Vietnam, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Belize, Jamaica, China, the Philippines and Nepal.
Each of the different countries had a chief who organized the traditional clothes they would wear, the traditional music they would play, the souvenirs and accessories of their country with which they should decorate their table, what activity to prepare from this culture as well than food to make more than 100 attendees. For the event, countries had to prepare at least one savory dish and one sweet dish, with an optional drink as well.
Not only was it a cultural event, but it was also a competition between countries. At each table, there was a QR code that attendees could scan to vote for which country had the best dress, best food, best activity and best music.
There were two sections where the event was set up. One area was for food, where everyone could try a sample of the different authentic foods made by each of the countries. The other area has been designated for activities to play, ranging from board games to traditional dances.
In the catering area, the tables were decorated with all kinds of materials and samples laid out for all the guests to try. In one section you would have Greece where you could try gyros, on the other side of the room would be Belize with bread pudding or horchata from Mexico. Once you’ve tried them, you can go back to countries you didn’t go to the first time, like trying jollof rice from Nigeria or Momo from Nepal.
There was also the activities section. Here you can make DIY lanterns with a member from Vietnam, sit and try Chinese calligraphy, play marbles with Jamaica, or try other traditional board games. If you prefer to get up and move around, there was a traditional Tinikling dance from the Philippines, where guests had to jump in and out of bamboo sticks to the beat, or play the Korean game Ddakji, where you have to throw paper to flip the one down to win.
There was a lot of preparation for the event to take place, many country leaders were happy to see how it all turned out.
“It was a miracle for me,” said Ru Jia, the team manager for China. “Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I had never made Kung Pao Chicken or Egg Tarts before, and now I had to make over 100 servings. I was really nervous because Chinese food is very popular, and I had to make mine authentic, and I wanted it to be good, but once the day came and customers tried it, they even came back asking me if I was opening a restaurant It made me realize that if we have a will we can do anything.
It wasn’t just the preparation of food or being able to wear traditional outfits, but the feeling of being united with each other and that feeling of family. Adults, grandparents and children came together to experience the festival.
“I felt like I was rediscovering my youth in my home country,” said Jaime Jang, the team manager for Korea. “Preparing everything for Korea was so nostalgic, and seeing everyone so happy gave me comfort. It didn’t matter how old they were, but they were trying all the games, eating and I really felt like I was at home. I just thought the result was really beautiful.
Lucy Toledo, team leader for Mexico, and Chris Smith, team leader for Greece, expressed how happy they were to be able to involve their mothers in preparing their tables.
Toledo said: “My mum really prepared everything so happily despite the fact that she has cancer. I was so moved, especially when guests complimented my table.
Smith said: “I could see my mum brighten up a bit. Seeing her excited about coming to the event was a really big deal for me.
It was most exciting when it came to announcing the winners of the festival, seeing which countries won which prizes. There were four different categories, but one country, the Philippines, was voted the winner for each of the four categories.
Joel Padua, team leader for the Philippines said: “I didn’t expect that! Everyone worked so hard on each of their tables, it would have been cool to see other countries win. But it was a great time to share my culture with many people who appreciated it.
Even one of the guests, Chyna Wells, expressed how much she loves Filipino food: “It was great. Filipino food was awesome. The efforts of the members of the Church of God were impeccable.
It showed that although they all had to take the time to prepare everything for this festival, it ultimately resulted in a happy outcome, another guest named Mia Woltz said, “It was wonderful to see all the different foods and cultures! I was able to be with my family and friends and had a great time.