How far is France from Botswana? It’s honestly just a hop, skip and a jump away; and if I walked there? It would take me three seconds, five if there’s a crowd. But that’s the beauty of the cultural festival, its ability to show case the beautifully diverse cultures of the students and teachers here at UIBE (University of International Business and Economics), is a spectacle that welcomes all. For you to come and experience food from different countries, taste the drinks grown and brewed in places you’ve never heard of, witness the dress of a various people that just makes you yearn to know more, the cultural festival had so much to offer and honestly not enough time for us to take it all in.
For some it was a nice break away from the normal motions of your typical Thursday, and for others it was a lot of hard work and energy spent under the clear Beijing skies and blazing hot sun with a record breaking temperature of 31°C occurring at some point in the day. Let me tell you something, working in the heat and roaming around a mass of bodies on such a hot day wasn’t necessarily the highlight of the day, but for those dressed in head to toe cultural gear, it was enough to endure it when you brought a smile to someone’s face. It was enough to endure it when you introduced someone to a piece of your home and they took it with them to wherever it is they went, whether it was in the form of a booklet, leaflet, cuisine from home, a photograph with you or a trinket they may have bought. It was worth the heat. But, with the heat, came some calm and with that came back the vivacious mood that swept across the patrons of the cultural festival.
Countries from A to Z came together on Thursday April 21st, those who had booths displayed their flags and various forms of artworks, posters, artifacts, statuettes, leaflets, purchasable trinkets and food and drink. Some booths from certain countries held games, played music and were able to invite the people in and capture their attention. Although the cultural festivals main attention was on the different countries represented, booths by school organisations managed to stake their claim, that of the booth of the IUPSU (International Undergraduate Programs Student Union) where they sold the IUP t-shirts and for a chance to participate in a game being one of them. On the main stage we had the honor of viewing various performances some from students as well as a fashion show, although, much attention was drawn to the booths of countries playing music. At one point a popularized song from southern Africa was played and it managed to bring together the African countries close to each other as well as foreigners as they joined in on a well-known dance that is usually performed to said song. That I think is something akin to beauty. The ability to bring together countries separated by thousands of kilometers with a simple song whereby you could invite in other people from even further away to join in on one of your known festivities.
But, with the music, the party and cultural festival was sure to carry on into the night. Although it started at 11:00 and officially ended at 17:00 it went on for a few more hours. People were honestly reluctant to leave because they were having such a good time. Eventually, after the heat, the hard work from the day and having eaten so much food got to people; well, they eventually went home. Hopefully to reminisce on the day and think towards the future to the next UIBE Cultural festival, where I hope, will be just as amazing as this one and possibly better. (By Sophie M. IUP2015)
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