Asian cultural festival returns Uptown
The Asian American Association (AAA) at the University of Miami hosted its annual Asian Cultural Festival on Friday, October 1. An evening filled with dancing, food and photo booths, the event aimed to educate the community about different Asian countries and their cultures.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time the festival has been held in person since 2019.
AAA Cultural President Luther Michalski, Senior Major in Bioengineering, helped keep the festival going as smoothly as possible. As cultural president, he has a strong commitment to making the festival as diverse as possible.
“The level of diversity we have achieved with this year’s Asian Cultural Festival is something I’m proud of,” Michalski said ahead of the festival. “This year we have reached a new level. We have confirmed more than 20 participating booths, extended beyond nations. We want to extend it to more and more culturally unique groups in Asia.
One of the most special parts of this festival, and Michalski’s favorite part, was allowing Asian students to share their specific cultures with the community of Oxford and the surrounding area.
The festival also allowed students from different parts of Asia to perform dance routines representative of their country on stage at Uptown Park.
Chandlier Jones, a double major in psychology and neuroscience, attended the festival and enjoyed the performances. Although Jones enjoyed the dance, her favorite part was more sentimental.
“Go to [the] Egypt [booth] and seeing this Mancala game board that I played a lot when I was younger, I didn’t know he was from Egypt, ”Jones said. “I found it funny how different parts of my childhood came from different parts of the world. ”
The food at the festival was specific to each country. Participants were encouraged to visit as many booths as possible by filling out a bingo card. The map could be crossed out by learning a new fact from each country represented on it.
Adam Vuth, a mechanical engineering graduate and AAA social president, ran the Cambodia booth, which was at the festival for the very first time.
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“[My favorite part is] the fact that I can represent my culture, a culture that I don’t know very well, to everyone here, ”said Vuth. “Most importantly, I try to connect with other Cambodians on campus, being able to represent our culture is important. I like being able to show the regions of the country that best represent it.
Some participants said they would like to see the cultures represented more often at the festival.
“I would love to see the cultural festivals that were presented on the different stands. I would love to see him brought to Miami, ”Jones said. “It would be cool to see everyone’s culture put in place and show and show ourselves that we can be a part of them.”
The Asian Cultural Festival is AAA’s largest event, and the work put into it from all angles is appreciated by the community and the club. From the board members to the people running the stands to the festival goers themselves, everyone there had a special appreciation for the festival.
“It takes a certain level of pride and bravery to come here in front of people and be able to do it,” said Michalski. “For that, I am so grateful to them. “