Chaminade University of Honolulu celebrated its 2nd annual Taste of Culture event this past Wednesday in the Clarence T.C. Ching Conference Center inside of Eiben Hall. This year’s event added a new art section emphasizing on the cultural garments worn by women from different ethnic backgrounds. International Woman’s Day was recently celebrated before the event, so the new art section was a great success.
Taste of Culture is an event celebrated by many clubs and groups that came together to share their culture in the form of food or beverage. The 2-hour event was successful in part to those who sponsored, including Advising and Career Development, OSAL, CSGA, Dean of Students, and Aramark.
“I think it’s very important to share your culture with everyone, especially because we are such a diverse school and we have people coming from all around the world, not just from the mainland or small islands,” said Tihani Rivera, member of ResLife. “It’s important that we do share a little bit about our culture with other people, and I do believe that other people appreciate it when we do that as well because then they learn a lot and you always make new friends doing stuff like that.”
Despite rainy weather and rising concerns of the coronavirus, the event had a great showing, especially when compared to last year’s turnout. Fortunately for all event participants, the event took place before school was announced as closed, so many event goers were happy to come and show support. Many of the club vendors ran out of food before everyone got a chance to come through the doors, unfortunate for the later participants, but a success for the event.
“This year was our second year, and we had a lot more involvement from advising office, Aramark, the dean of students, OSAL, and a lot more clubs that came out too,” said CSGA’s director of Finance, Symone Perez. “I definitely think it’s important for the school to have way more functions like this, a lot of the focus has been the past years on Pacific Island Review and Extravaganza, and we are slowly coming out of this shell where we just celebrate dances. We are going to start celebrating the food and eventually do more cultural things.”
Perez hopes that as Taste of Culture begins to pickup momentum, other ideas will soon follow that emphasize on the importance of culture in ways other than dancing. PIR and Extravaganza are two popular events held on campus that allow many clubs on campus to perform traditional dances from their culture. Many of the same groups also attended the event on Wednesday. Some of these clubs include Hawaiian Club, Filipino Club, Tao Tao Marianas Club, Korean Club, Samoan Club, Tongan Club, and many more.
Out of the food from all of the clubs, one of the most popular dishes was chicken kelaguen, provided by the Tao Tao Marianas Club. Kelaguen is referred to the way a dish is made, for example, many people from Guam will eat different types of kelaguen, including chicken, beef, Spam, deer, etc. Although, there are various ways of making each one different than the last.
“I feel like everyone knows the general gist of how to make the dish but it’s all about the way your family might add a certain amount of seasoning or the different things they might add to it to make it their own version of chicken kelaguen,” said Jackie Martinez, a freshman member of the club.
“My favorite part has to be the chicken kelaguen, “biba guam.” [Long live Guam]. Chicken Kelaguen is one of those dishes that has to be at every fiesta back home, it’s not the same without it,” said Ray Aguon, Junior Psychology major from Talofofo, Guam.
Many participants came to the event to enjoy free food and the community and culture that was included with it. Whether or not they took anything cultural away, it was a fun-filled environment full of games, smiles, laughter, and learning.
“Everybody learns a lot about where people are from which helps make everyone have a sense of ethnic diversity,” said Keanu Whitfield, Junior Religious Studies major. “It’s a good way to come out and enjoy people’s community.”