Asian Gala celebrates heritage, shares culture through food and art

Madison Weaver, Assistant News Editor

The annual Asian Gala was held on March 25 in Larison Dining Hall to celebrate Asian culture and heritage with food, dance, song, fashion, and community. The gala was hosted by Students for Asian Awareness at Bucknell (SAAB) and marked its 10th anniversary this spring.

“Asian Gala is a place for Bucknell’s various Asian cultural organizations and students of Asian descent to come together and share their ethnic heritage to the Bucknell community,” SAAB President Trang Bui ’19 said.

The sold-out event featured food from local Asian eateries in Lewisburg, Pa. and Harrisburg, Pa. While recent Asian Galas have mostly served food originating from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures, the menu this year included South Asian staples like samosa and kulfi.

“Food is always an integral part of any culture,” Bui said. “[W]hen someone living overseas is asked ‘what do you miss most from home’ it’s almost natural for them to answer the food immediately.”

The Asian Gala showcased 14 performances, including an Afghanistan dance, a Chinese water sleeve dance, a Tibetan dance, a Vietnamese dance, a Bollywood dance, a Filipino Tinikling dance, and a Korean pop dance, among others.

“Being in the show, it’s amazing to see each number come together. Many of them are led by students who come from that specific country/area and the other students who participate really become invested in presenting that culture,” Abigail Garrett ’17 said.

Performances represented many different countries and regions of Asia, including southern countries Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, and India; eastern countries including Japan, China, Korea, and Tibet, as well as southeastern countries like Vietnam and Myanmar.

A traditional part of the Asian Gala is the Heritage Fashion Show, which featured clothing from eight different countries. Each country had the opportunity to explain the significance of the costumes to the audience.

“I think that a crucial part of understanding a culture is through the clothes that they wear because clothing can represent what the people in that country value most … clothing can be very traditional but modern at the same time,” Melanie Cheng ’19 said.

“I like the fact that we were able to bring about, to the best of our ability, a comprehensive look at the various cultural heritages of Asian countries,” Bui said. “Of course it’s always our goal to include more countries to the event in the years to come.”

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