"The flower that blooms in diversity, is the most rare and beautiful of them all”- Mulan
Here at WHU, we embrace and celebrate diversity everyday but the annual cultural fest made it a bit more special. The 12 th luojia autumn cultural festival was an excellent opportunity to understand all those things that make these countries and its people different from what we are used to- a window to see the world differently. Everyone had their own stories to tell.
The weather was gloomy but beneath all those grey clouds, there wasn’t a single dull moment during the two day rendezvous. The Guiyuan ground was buzzing with visitors- both Chinese and foreigners- from across Wuhan. This multifarious cultural event was undoubtedly one of the largest gathering of foreign students and expats. The visitors were awed by the exuberant grandeur- inflated arch at the entrance, the aerodynamic giant red balloons with red banners, the stalls decorated in the most eccentric cultural themes imaginable and the spacious stage with the airscreen. The whole ambience was enticing and the event was meticulously well-planned. As the event progressed, the foreign students gave one incandescent performance after another. The scene culminated into a colorful cultural expression of art, music and dance- from traditional to modern and even a fusion of both. The student-choreographed dance forms represented the culture and beauty of their countries.
Students giving a folk musical performance
The students were dressed in traditional wear of their beloved nations-Japanese kimono, Arabic thawb, Senegalese Kaftan, Kazakhstani chapan, Bhutanese kira, Korean hanbok, Nepali daura surwal, Pakistani Shalwar Kameez and much more. The gold-plated jewelry, headdress, ornamental flowers and feathers enhanced the charisma of the traditional attire. The bright songket and colorful kanga costumes dominated the runway during the traditional outfit show. The students had creatively designed the attires with a modern look and a touch of whimsy. They had even smeared their faces with paints.
Visitors clicking selfies with Egyptian student dressed as “Pharaoh”
The students also demonstrated their cooking talent with mouth-watering dishes, beverages, snacks and deserts filled with all kinds of spreads and condiments. The visitors were delighted to binge on a variety of international cuisines : Vietnamese Goi cuon, American hot dog, Turkish doner kebab, Belgian frites, French crepes, Singaporean tauhu, Mauritian bhajia, German waffles and Malaysian batik cake, to name a few. There was even a rendering of a few melodic pieces. The folk musical instruments included, what appeared like an African xylophone, komuz and siku. The kids were running around to get the WISU designed passport stamped at the stalls and even collected hand flags. The cherubs in their parents’ arms smiled gleefully which saturated the ambience with cuteness. The visitors flocked the stalls to get their hands on the exhibited goods- currencies, confectionaries, handicrafts, paintings, masks, animal figurines, badges, cosmetics, medicinal products, clothing and much more- all imported from 80 countries spanning the globe. The visitors clicked pictures with students dressed in Yemeni attire with jambiya dagger, Egyptian pharaoh costume and a Santa Claus (It was a bit early for Christmas though，pun intended)
A kid in national costume clinging to an adult
Everyone seemed to have a blast- some danced to the tune of loud music, others were enjoying a mellow conversation while gingerly eating tidbits of skewered barbecue. Their jubilant faces showed they were cherishing these moments with friends- a much sought after break from their tiresome studies. They conjured up old memories as they sat cross-legged on the grass with chilling drinks. As foreigners, everyone was on the same boat and everyone was palling around.
Some Arabic students relaxing on the grass
As individuals, we are somewhat dogmatically opinionated about each other’s cultural background, much of which comes from the news feeds and social networking platforms. We might even have trivialized this cultural diversity within our cohesive international community. At the cultural festival, we caught the glimpse of the differences in culture and way of living between us. But we all resonate the same core values of humanity, inclusiveness and friendship.
As the event drew to a close, the students danced hysterically to the music, whopping in ineffable joy. The whole area reverberated with the hubbub which surprisingly accentuated a euphoric aura. Just when we thought it couldn’t be any better, a crimson sun peeked over the horizon, uplifting the festive mood. This moment of superfluous bliss continued till the evening when a shimmering moonlight appeared in the sky. The workforce finally dismantled the stalls, signaling the end of the fest.
(Photo by Wu Jiamin, Edited by Hu Sijia)