When I signed up to represent India at Ellis’s preschool’s cultural day, the teacher and artist in me were instantly unleashed. The project consumed my mind for weeks, and today, many hours later, it finally came to fruition.
Everything is made by hand. I did the Taj Mahal with watercolor and pen, the people are pen and colored pencil, and I carved the stamp out of a rubber block.
In true Indian style, people could smell our table from across the room. We had a display of 13 fresh Indian spices on the table while chicken tikka masala bubbled away in a crock pot, which was such a hit I gave out the recipe many times (thanks Aarti)! We also had a crunchy and salty fried lentil snack called dal, which people loved.
Thanks to my new friend Jodi, we were able to give people bindis to wear! They looked beautiful on the kids and women, especially the many beautiful Latina women who work at the school. Some (like me) wore smiley face bindis! 😀
The kids got really into smelling and touching the spices, and many will likely have turmeric stains on their clothes and fingers for a long time. Sorry parents!
The kids also loved the animals. I saw many kids petting the tigers, and one kid event tried to swipe the elephant. Maybe he was offended I had displayed an African elephant instead the Asian variety.
The kids went from table to table with their little passport, collecting stamps and stickers along the way. There were also areas for face painting (the flag of your choice), a dress up corner, and even dance performances from around the world.
There were lots of really awesome country displays at the festival. Twenty countries were represented, and each country host put a lot of love and effort into it. It was so cool to see people’s creativity applied in so many different ways and to be in such a celebration of different cultures. Oh, and the food wasn’t bad either! Spanish olives and almonds, Manchego cheese, ceviche, arepas, guacamole and chips, bread salad, Irish “gur”cake, a sweet sesame dumpling from Korea, an awesome rice dish from Ghana, plantain chips, the list goes on and on…
For me, the best part was meeting the school community and having them love the food and appreciate all the hard work. Every last drop of chicken tikka masala was eaten, and not a grain of rice was wasted.
And yeah, I’m pretty proud of myself. 🙂 Now what country should I do next year?