This week York University held an event called Multicultural Week. Each day there was a different event where each cultural club could exhibit and share parts of their culture with everyone at the university. I think this is a wonderful idea, as many different cultures are in close proximity to each other and everyone is presented with the opportunity to learn something new about each other’s cultures.
As an executive member of Hallyu Dongari at York, I was able to take part in some of these events and teach people about Korean culture and Korean food, even though I’m not Korean! At the same time, I was also able to learn about other cultures and see what kinds of food they normally eat and traditional clothes they wear, which was really eye-opening for me.
As I said earlier, a specific event was scheduled for each day of the week. Monday, February 3rd was the Multicultural Parade, where people dressed up in their cultures’ respective traditional clothes, held up signs, and proudly paraded around campus, supporting their nationalities. There was also a fashion show held on Monday to showcase each nation’s respective fashion choices.
On Tuesday, February 4th, a World Food Market was held in The Underground at York University, where each cultural club set up a table with staple foods from their countries. People were able to come walk around and try some free samples and buy meals for lunch, from whichever nation they wished to try the food. I was in attendance on Tuesday, and, let me tell you, it was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen. There were so many different booths with so many different types of food, and many cultural clubs had people dressed up in traditional clothes or dancing to traditional music. It was a little confusing to see so many different cultures in one place throwing their traditions, music, culture, and staple foods in your face (it was slightly overwhelming), but it was also quite beautiful. Everyone was talking to everyone and learning about everyone else’s culture, and trying each nation’s food. It was very nice to see everyone getting together like that. At our table, we served 비빔밥, 김밥, 빼빼로, and 김치. We also sold 요걸트 drinks. I think Korean food seemed a little exotic and overwhelming to newcomers, especially 비빔밥 (when you see it mixed with all the sauce and vegetables), but people seemed to enjoy it, especially the 김밥, which was homemade by one of our exec members (who, I might add, is not even Korean!). Overall the World Food Market seemed to be a success.
Also on Tuesday at The Underground an event called DJ Sound Clash was held, where DJs from each and every culture were given the opportunity to play both old and new music, in a competition.
On Wednesday, February 5th, throughout Ross link, Vari, and Central Square, clubs were given the opportunity to set up a booth and promote their cultures, events, traditions, and languages. They were even allowed to teach informal classes and teach passersby a phrase or two in their language. Afterwards on Wednesday another event was held called “The Land of Opportunity”, where a discussion was held about how many great opportunities there are in Canada and how all of these cultures have been able to, and are still able to, immigrate to this multicultural and beautifully diverse land.
Finally, on Thursday, the final event was held at the Rexall Centre. This event was the Cultural Explosion Performance. It was basically one really big performance where each club was presented with the opportunity to perform in any way they like, be it singing, dancing, or playing traditional instruments.
Overall, Multicultural Week appears to have been a great success, and it’s wonderful that we all got to share a little of our various cultures and backgrounds with each other. I was only able to attend the World Food Market, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself, tried new foods, and was able to introduce staple Korean foods, like 김치, 비빔밥, and 김밥, to people who had no idea what those foods are or what they’re made of. It was wonderful to see people interested in other people’s cultures and, especially for Hallyu Dongari, I think it was great to see a lot of non-Korean students, who are passionate about Korea, teaching other non-Koreans about Korean food and customs. It really goes to show just how multicultural and accepting Canada is.