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Cultural Diversity Celebrated at the World Folk Culture Festival

A brief introduction on WFCF
WFCF is a festival that promotes globalization by understanding diverse cultures and customs throughout the world. It focuses on providing a novel opportunity to take in international insights through various performances and improving fellowship between HUFSans and the world’s citizens. In the event of this year’s WFCF, which marks its 28th edition, it distinguishes itself from previous ones by being staged at Gwanghwamun Square, a historical landmark of Seoul.

“Globality.” The coinage is a compound word of “global” and “ability,” which is the indicator of one’s global competence. The advent of globalization brought about the coexistence of multiple cultures within a single country and necessitated possessing a transnational mindset. The World Folk Culture Festival (WFCF), the heritage of HUFS Global Campus, is the event that meets the very needs of the world. 
WFCF is HUFSans’ festival whose global competence is embodied in the form of art. The event hosts traditional performances from diverse cultures based on the performers’ understanding and education on international studies. In order to imbibe the passion of HUFSans through their fruitful outcome, The Argus visited the event.

Division of African Studies 

The performance of TWIMBO started with a familiar tune of “Waka Waka,” a theme song of the 2010 South African World Cup. TWIMBO means “our song” in Swahili, a common language in southeastern Africa. The melody seemed to square with the meaning of the team’s name, as it seemed to belong to everyone regardless of which country the audience came from. The colorful tinges of Africa emanated from “Afro House Dance” and “African Caribbean Folk Dance,” of which the latter originated from the dance of female warriors.
One of the audience members, a woman in her fifties, said, “Their make-up and costumes were very unique and impressive. It harmonized well with the performance. I almost cried because it was so fantastic and wonderful to watch the students doing their best on stage.”

Department of Spanish Interpretation and Translation 

Europe might be a small continent, but Spain’s performance proved it has many different cultures. The feeling of originality from each culture is reinforced by the unique way in which the dancers play their instruments, tapping them on their thighs rather than their hands. The unique instruments that are the maracas and the tambourine made for a truly brilliant show. The guitar, played by the students, built the Latino atmosphere. Indeed, their hypnotizing voices and tune echoing under the red lights made the audience feel as if they were in a Latin country. “It reminded me of my home country because of how familiar the song sounded,” said Priscilla, an audience member from Brazil.

Department of Arabic Interpretation and Translation 

The performance was intense in terms of reflecting the distinctive traits of Arabic culture. The high-pitched songs and colorful costumes enriched the momentum of the Arabic traditional dance. Most people do not know that belly dancing has originated from ancient Egypt as a part of their traditional dances. They imprinted this fact on the minds of the audience with their excellent dancing skills. 
On top of the belly dance, Oasis introduced another traditional dance, “Tanoura.” With the songs of Nancy Ajarm, a popular Lebanese singer, being turned on, their seamless performance had everyone clapping with joy. The lyrics of the song, “The key to a happy life is opening your mind to people,” manifested the essence of WFCF, emphasizing the importance of inviting new ideas from diverse cultures.

Department of Ukrainian Studies

Despite the dynamics and power they displayed on stage, the ambience of the Ukrainian team was rather tranquil compared to those of the previous ones. Kalina performed “Hoopak,” the most well-known Ukrainian traditional dance, which is also characterized by its improvised choreography. Performers wearing loose pants jumped and spun like acrobats. Every detail, from the flower crown on the girls’ heads to the embroidered shirts of the male dancers, was true to Ukrainian dancing tradition. The performance transported the spectators right to Eastern Europe.

Department of Czech and Slovak Studies 

The team, Polka, mainly performed the Eastern European traditional dance, polka. The dance stems from the Bohemian region, which now extends from the Czech Republic to Slovak territory. Gabriel Lukac, a professor of the Department of Czech and Slovak Studies said, “There was no dance team representing Slovakia, but this one was similar to my country’s traditional dance.” 
The HUFSans recreated the polka with powerful, exhilarating movements and bright faces in line with the Czech song. The couples’ energetic dance carried the crowd yet into another daydream. “The atmosphere and the attitude of the students who were enthusiastic was the most important thing. It breaks into our hearts. The strongest thing to me is sentimental, the feelings,” added Lukac.

Department of Indian Studies 

Shandar made their appearance with the famous song, “Tunak Tunak Tun.” They combined strong vocals and mesmerizing dance moves. The female vocalist’s low voice created the perfect atmosphere in which the dancers could perform. Dancers demonstrated the “Garba,” a traditional dance in India. They exactly reproduced the spiritual and circular form of Garba. All were perfectly in sync, including their Indian traditional costumes, “Dhoti” and “Ghagra Choli,” worn by men and women performers respectively. Their sumptuous color made them seem straight out of a Bollywood movie.

Department of Polish 

Mazurka showed three kinds of dances, “Trojak,” “Krakowiak” and “Polka.” The lyrics of “Zasiali gorale owies,” played alongside Trojak, narrate a story about a man with many daughters, who is planting crops in his field. While maintaining the uplifting and energetic atmosphere, the polka, a famous dance of Poland, was performed. The dancers of the Mazurka circled and stomped around in their black, red and white traditional outfits, making the dance seem effortless. Complementing the whole performance, the dancers’ smiles illuminated the stage, as if it were an invitation for the spectators to join them.

Department of Thai Interpretation and Translation 

Thephajaoying, which means the “goddess” hinted at a great show, and they did not disappoint the audience. They definitely looked like goddesses with figure-hugging and sparkling phasabai and kraprong, and sleek hair. 
Saerngkratib, a traditional dance from the northern region of Thailand, made itself beautiful through constant transition in their dance moves which are simple and precise. Despite not stunning the audience with unbelievable acrobatics, the dancers caught the audience’s attention with gentle movements of the hands. They ended the performance by invoking the god’s blessing for the audience.

Department of Korean Studies 

Last but not least, Navilera came on the scene to conclude the festival. The performance was unique as it combined Korean traditional dance with occidental musical instruments, such as the flute. Just like the harmony of the dance and instruments, the team was comprised of Korean and foreign members. They showed a Korean traditional dance, Buchaechum, which played on the pastel colors of the fans and Hanboks, Korean traditional costume. It provided a rationale behind their name, Navilera, a mimetic word depicting the movement of a butterfly. The ethereal performance left a lingering feeling to the audience, one of peacefulness and admiration.
John Solomon, an audience member from Iran said, “I only came here to support my Iranian friend in Navilera, but I was pleasantly surprised by the dancing form of the Korean team.”


Remarks from HUFS president
“When I was a senior at HUFS about 40 years ago, The World Folk Culture Festival was held inside the Sejong Center. I am deeply moved to see WFCF being held at one of the symbolic venues of Korea. I thought it was really great as the programs were well-composed and there was less redundancy between the performances. In particular, it was a very significant event as it could show HUFS’ outstanding cross-cultural competence in the era of globalization.”

Globalization often solely emphasizes the economic aspect. However, the original meaning subsumes more than just the economy, it includes culture too. By overcoming physical constraints, countries revealed their heritage to others, which enabled people from other countries to learn about them. The festival fulfilled its purpose of stressing this aspect and nurturing people’s sense of globalism.

By Laura Perrusson, Na Geum-chae and An Kwan-ho
Guest Reporter & Staff Reporters of Campus Section

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