Culture corner gets folks in holiday spiritWORTHINGTON — A flurry of cultural cuisine and traditions matched this week’s flurry of snow during the Culture Corner Holiday Open House Friday night at Minnesota West.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — A flurry of cultural cuisine and traditions matched this week’s flurry of snow during the Culture Corner Holiday Open House Friday night at Minnesota West.
But the former was more enjoyable.
The customs of nearly 20 countries were on display, and to the delight of many visitors, so was each country’s holiday fare. There was lefse and krumkaka from Sweden and Norway; fruit tea and tamales from Mexico; lemon tarts from England and potato latkes and cheesecake from Israel; even gingerbread at the North American booth.
“I’m willing to try eating anything,” said Worthington resident Lora Lee Timm-Knuth with a laugh.
She recalled learning that German Christmas trees began as carved, decorated pyramids in the shape of a tree.
“We get our tree and decorate it on the 24 (of December),” explained Katrin Staudacher, Worthington’s exchange student from Crailsheim, Germany. She said Santa Claus is an angel-like figure called Christkind who visits on Christmas Eve. Staudacher showed an Advent Kalendar filled with candy for children counting down to Christmas.
Germans also celebrate St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6, and enjoy sweet bread called Stollen around the holidays. The booth offered samples of the bread, of which Staudacher said there are several variations. “Ours is (made) with nuts and apples,” she said.
The Denmark booth offered a taste of Aebleskiver, a traditional Danish dish.
“It’s like a pancake, but they’re baked in rounds,” explained Carol Larsen Fleming of Worthington. “One of the things they do is join hands and sing songs and dance around the Christmas tree.”
Traditional decorations were also featured. Brightly colored fuzzy ornaments were for sale at the Peru booth, while samples of rose mauling and hardanger doilies were displayed at the Norway booth along with a sign reading “God Jul,” the Norwegian and Swedish phrase for “Merry Christmas.”
Some booths featured traditional foods and other items not related to the holidays. In the Buddhist country of Laos, for example, Christmas is not celebrated, but gifts are exchanged for their new year, which starts in April, explained Thi Synavone.
The event was organized by Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington campus and the Nobles County Integration Collaborative. Donations taken at the door will support scholarships for ethnically diverse students on the Worthington campus.