Food, dancing, and cultural awareness at the Feast of Nations

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When I first walked into the South High School commons on the evening of March 29th, I smelled many different kinds of food and heard Latin music. This array of sensory delights was organized by Diane Bagley, and was South High’s first annual Feast of Nations.

Stands lined the walls, waiting to be read and offering information about the cultures, religions, and ethnic groups that each presented. Standing by these exhibits, students from different cultures, religions, and ethnic groups shared stories about their cultures. At some stands, they were even giving out food–a French stand gave students and their families bread and bruschetta, and a Native American stand handed out fry bread with blueberry jam. The event was delicious and informative. The packed cafeteria came to life amongst the different cultural dances and music. One performer, Carmen Gonzalez, showed off a traditional Latina dress and some fun salsa dancing.

This Feast of Nations could not have been better timed. Just the night before (Thursday the 28th), a group of students from START held a dinner with guest speaker Diane Wilson, the author of Spirit Car. At the dinner, START asked the guests to come up with ideas for keeping individual cultures alive. Almost everyone said education about other cultures is key to promoting community without assimilation.

The Feast of Nations was a fun, interactive way to learn about cultures with food and dance! It was creative and artsy while educational. Furthermore, it seemed as if everyone had a great time. Even school members who didn’t know how to dance went on stage and learned how to salsa with Ms. Sadler. A variety of educational events unfolded as the night went on, including Henna and dance lessons. The Feast of Nations was a fun community event that helped celebrate diversity and promoted learning about other cultures.