International, domestic students mix at European Carnival

European Carnival
A group of friends with the Dutch Prince at the European Carnival.Photo credit: Maisee Lee

Chico State students wore colorful wigs, masks and sequined costumes on Thursday to embrace the featured cultures at the European Carnival.

The Cross-Cultural Leadership Center and the Study Abroad Office are putting on Global Voices, a series of events that expose students to different cultures around the world to give them a better understanding of global diversity. This event focused on celebrating Carnival the way other countries do.

Italy, Germany and France all celebrate Carnival in slightly different ways.

Chiacchiere, a fried pastry, was the featured Italian food item from the event. Students were also able to make masks at the Carnival on campus.

Masks are part of the Carnevale festival in Venice, along with mischief and pranks. Anthony Sivathasan, a junior exchange student from Amsterdam studying business administration, appreciated the masks.

“The combination of everything is nice, and the mask thing is the coolest,” Sivathasan said.

He has made many American friends while studying abroad in Chico, he said.

“You can connect really easily,” Sivathasan said.

Germans celebrate Women’s Carnival Night during the Kolner Karneval in Cologne, Germany. The tradition includes tie cutting, allowing women to cut the tie off any man within reach and kiss any man they want to. Students participated in tie cutting at the event.

The German cuisine featured at the European Carnival included Bavarian pretzels and a nonalcoholic version of gluhwein, a mulled wine.

Vastenavond, the Dutch Carnival, places an emphasis on role reversal and suspension of social norms and behavior. It is traditional to change the names of towns and cities for three days of celebration.

Worstenbroodjes, Dutch beef rolls, were served up to students at the festival.

All student attendees received bracelets. Domestic students got red bracelets and blue ones were handed to international students. Attendees traded their bracelets after talking to each other and moving around tables.

Jennifer Gruber, a study abroad coordinator, studied in Italy and experienced European culture for herself.

“We all know carnivals like Fat Tuesday in New Orleans and big celebrations in Germany and the Netherlands to showcase a Carnival, but it’s a four to five day celebration, so being in the U.S. we get a glimpse of what the countries entail,” Gruber said. “We can’t do it on a full scale, but I think we are doing a good job of making students aware of other cultures.”

Amanda Hovik can be reached at [email protected] or @AmandaHovik on Twitter.