Participants perused country- themed tables and sampled food from around the world while viewing performances by Korean drummers and a Czechoslovakian dancing group Friday at Martha Cook Residence Hall”s annual International Tea.

Paul Wong
School of Education junior Megan Palen and fifth-year Michigan State University student Sarah Bradley perform a tradition Czech dance at Martha Cook”s International Tea on Friday.<br><br>BRETT MOUNTAIN/Daily

Dance group member and school of education junior Megan Palen said she enjoys traditional dancing and the opportunity to share the Czech customs and costumes with the community.

“The flowers in my hair show that I”m not married and the number of skirts tell how much money you have,” she said, explaining the significance of different traditional elements of her costume. “Through costumes and dancing, it”s a chance for me to get to know what it was like there and to be able to help other people learn about the culture too.”

Palen added that the event celebrates diversity and heritage and that it could also help people find places they would be interested in traveling. The tea is a chance for Cook residents to represent the country of their choice and share food and knowledge of that country with others.

“Everyone really gets into it. They want to show where they came from and what they”ve chosen to represent, and to share it with everyone. They really put a lot of time and energy into it,” Martha Cook ethnic council chair Sara Hasley said.

The event is also a chance for community members to explore the building and admire the architecture.

Pioneer High School senior Daniela Montiero said she discovered the international tea while she was driving downtown.

Montiero is from Brazil and said she hoped to find something from her home country at the festival.

“I”d never really noticed this much before, but I saw it so I stopped by. I thought they might have something I”d be interested in,” she said. “They don”t have anything from Brazil, but the food is really good and you can learn about different cultures while you eat,” Montiero said.

For LSA freshman Allison Schwartz, the problem wasn”t finding the celebration, but rather, preparing the food for it.

Schwartz made Jen Hagel, the same delicate sugar cookies she eats at home on special occasions. She said making the food in the dorm was worth it in the long run.

“It was a mess, but thankfully most of the cookies survived,” she said. “This is a way for them to try new things most people would live and die without trying these cookies and now they can say they”ve tried them.”

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