Presidencies share meaning and cost of costumes from Culture Night

Written by: 
Brooklyn Redd

HAWAII

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“The costumes we will be wearing reflect the time era of Queen Liliuokalani’s reign in the Hawaiian Kingdom. The men are dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt with black pants. Girls are similar with a white long-sleeved top and a long maxi skirt. All dancers will be adorned in ti leafs and purple crown flowers. The purple crown flower was the queen’s flower and purple was the queen’s color. The men and four attendants will be wearing purple sashes. Our student soloists, who represented the queen, wore butterfly hairpieces because the queen loved butterflies.
 
• How many members participated? 87
 
• How much did each member contribute? $10
 
• How much did each member contribute? N/A

 

TONGA

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
 “We came up with this costume because at the moment our mother queen of Tonga had passed away. We wanted to show her respect by dressing in black. The costume itself represents [our] love and deep respect for the culture in which we grew up in.”
 
• How many members participated? 132 
 
• How much did each member contribute? $10 
 
• How much did it cost overall? $1,000

 

PHILIPPINES

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“It is for one of the most popular dances in the Philippines and shows more of the culture. We wear them for special occasions and ‘fiestas’... It is more of what our culture is in terms of being more conservative. The tribal one shows more of the rural and tropical area, not having as much fabric.”
 
• How many members participated? 60-70
 
• How much did each member contribute?
“No one had to pay an extra fee.”
 
• How much did it cost overall? Around $650

 

CHINA

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“They are simple and represent [China well]. [They represent] a weapon in the dance theme, but also represent welcome, love, and blessings towards others. It shows the gracefulness of the dance movements and helps us to indicate unity and our country’s lucky color, red.”
 
• How many members participated? 28
 
• How much did each member contribute? $10
 
• How much did it cost overall? $300

 

KIRIBATI

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“We did not decide on these costumes. These are what every Kiribati wears when they perform almost every traditional dance. Even though we have different types of dances, the same costume is used.
“My best guess would be that that’s what people used to wear for clothing in the olden days before western clothes were  introduced. They are important because they are cultural and remind us of our main roots.”
 
• How many members participated?
“We have 45 participants; 12 boys and the rest are girls.”
 
• How much did each member contribute? $0
 
• How much did it cost overall? $20

 

MALAYSIA/SINGAPORE

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“We wanted to do something different, because Malaysia is not just Malay, but it has three main cultures: Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian. It is a very multiracial southeast country in Asia.
“The costumes are known as ‘jippa’ for the boys and ‘sari’ for the girls. Those outfits are used during times of special occasions; celebrations for wedding and other things.”
 
• How many members participated?
“This year I think the people tripled. No we have about 60-70 people.”
 
• How much did each member contribute? $28
 
• How much did it cost overall?
About over $1000

 

HONG KONG

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“We don’t have a standard costume, so we are keeping it casual. However, the costume for the lion dance is traditional in Hong Kong. We wish to represent and imply the success and power of Hong Kong. The color red on the lion represent how it is a lucky consistent color in Hong Kong.
“The costume is not the biggest focus for us. We just want to show the Kung Fu culture, and the lion is the biggest focus, which represents Hong Kong the most.”
 
• How many members participated? 20
 
• How much did each member contribute? $0
 
• How much did it cost overall? $450

 

MONGOLIA 

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“Our stake president brought all the costumes back from Mongolia this year, [making it more convenient]. Last year we took so much time making them.
Mongolians have a nomadic way of life, so we are always moving around traditionally. The costumes represent our convenient, conservative lifestyle and they are very comfortable to move around in.”
 
• How many members participated? 30
 
• How much did each member contribute?
“We only used the money from World Fest.”
 
• How much did it cost overall? $500

 

BALLROOM

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“We tried to find something to match our theme, which is Disney. We wanted something flashy and fun, because ballroom costumes tend to have lots of sparkles and glitter… We were trying to figure out how to replicate that feel without being too complicated or expensive. The costumes may not have the deep spiritual and cultural meaning other association’s costumes have, but an outfit that makes me feel confident and beautiful makes all the difference in the quality of my performance.”
 
• How many members participated? 24
 
• How much did each member contribute?
“We didn’t charge our members anything.”
 
• How much did it cost overall? $300 

 

TAIWAN

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“They’re simple and representable. The meaning behind the performance is to represent traditional Chinese martial arts. Historically, people learned to defend themselves, then it became one of the religious events among the people where it would be displayed before Gods.
“It is not just about martial arts, but more like a worshiping activity. It is important to try our best to follow what the people did. That is how we show the respect to them.”
 
• How many members participated? 30
 
• How much did each member contribute? $0
 
• How much did it cost overall? $300

 

CAMBODIA

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“This costume is not an authentic Cambodian costume. The silk worm used in creating the costumes eventually becomes the most beautiful creature. [Like the silk worm], when we are born, we have nothing. We are born to become a learner. When we are older, we become educated. This works well with the meaning of students, because we come here to learn and become brighter and brighter until we eventually become the light of the world.
“[The costumes] are very sacred to us, representing the chastity, morality, and purity of the people. There is beauty in people if they are modest.”
 
• How many members participated? 8
 
• How much did each member contribute? $0
 
• How much did it cost overall? $98

 

FIJI

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“We chose these costumes because it reflected the designs, respect we have for each other, our different villages, and regions in Fiji.
“In Fiji we take great pride in modesty in dress for women, and for men it was to represent their great strength but yet to always remain humble when you’re out in the world.”
 
• How many members participated? 80
 
• How much did each member contribute? $10

 

TAHITI

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“Our theme is about the voyagers and canoes, so our main color is brown. We based our costume out of coconut and did different tones of brown. The coconuts inspired us the most and we did it from there.
“The costume shows the hard work everyone put into it and represent the beauty and natural resources of Tahiti.”
 
• How many members participated? 75
 
• How much did each member contribute? $10
 
• How much did it cost overall? $1,000

 

SAMOA

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“The reason we chose this costume was it shows the history of Samoa and how our ancestors discovered the natural features [of Samoa].”
“The costume is traditional, not only representing the history of Samoa, but also the features and aspects of the island.
“Costumes always depend on the theme. Our theme is ‘We are voyagers.’ I hope the audience will understand the message we portray about our culture and how our people used to live.”
 
• How many members participated? 156
 
• How much did each member contribute? $10
 
• How much did it cost overall? $3,500

 

NEW ZEALAND

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“Costumes are decided based on availability of materials, cost of materials, and effort realistically achievable in time frame.
“The costumes are merely a modern take on Maori costumes. Red is the predominant color and is referenced to sacredness because of one of the chants we will be singing.
“The costumes are important because they are a part of cultural song and dance. We hope to portray Maori culture with integrity as best as we can in the short time frame we have been given.” 
 
• How many members participated?
More than 100 dancers
 
• How much did each member contribute? $15
 
• How much did it cost overall? $1,350

 

Hip-Hop

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“They are actually a throwback to the 90’s hip-hop style. [The costumes represent] the basic hip-hop community, an expression of art through dance, and the costumes add the street element. They coordinate everyone and make us look really cool on stage.”
 
• How many members participated? 15-23
  
• How much did each member contribute?
“Nothing, we saved a lot of money.”
 
• How much did it cost overall?
“We were not able to figure that out.”

 

COOK ISLANDS

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“We decided on these costumes to show how authentic it is to the Cook Island culture and it is tied to our theme: [sea voyaging].
“The headpiece (‘ei katu’)  - crown or wisdom of our ancestors to direct the people. The neckpiece (‘ei kaki’) -  symbols of love, friendship and respect. The ‘titi’ or hip band for the women is used to emphasize the swaying of the hips and likewise for the males. The color green on the sarongs or ‘pareu’ represents the renewal of life, nature, growth, harmony, fertility and safety.
“Costumes are all natural resources except for the ‘pareu’ (sarong). The rest of the costumes are fresh leaves that we would generally braid 1-2 nights before the performance.”
 
• How many members participated? 40
 
• How much did each member contribute? $10
 
• How much did it cost overall? $400

 

INDONESIA

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“It was inspired by Indonesian traditional costumes. The dance we did was called ‘saman’ and is generally performed in an area that has a lot of Muslim influence. Muslims cover their entire bodies and perform this dance to welcome others and worship God.
“I hope people can appreciate the culture more. Even though we are different, [the costumes] can reunite us.”
 
• How many members are participating? 33
 
• How much did each member contribute? $0
 
• How much did it cost overall? $480

 

LATIN AMERICA

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“The customs represent Veracruz, Mexico. The people are characterized by humility, service, and friendliness, but the most important is respect and purity. We are wearing white to represent the purity and love to our creator.
“The custom symbolizes glamour and beauty where both, men, and women show a mix of the old, new Spain, and Mexico. The flowers represent a crown where the left side [represents] singleness and the right side marriage. The jewelry is a gift from the grandmothers. The ascot tie, full of bright colors, is as a sign of festivity, and joyfulness. The hat is only worn in gala events, such as weddings, and parades for important festivities.”
 
• How many members participated? 25 
 
• How much did each member contribute? $13
 
• How much did it cost overall? About $940

 

JAPAN

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
 “As representatives of Japanese culture, we would like to introduce both modern and traditional clothing by showing all kinds of Anime Characters and ‘yukatas’ (kimono). The meaning depends on the pattern of ‘yukata,’ but usually seasonal flowers, plants, or birds are printed, which show the spirit of loving Japanese beautiful four seasons and nature.”
“‘Yukata’ is traditional clothing that has more than 1,000 years of history. That was what all of the people wore before hundreds of years ago. Nowadays, people wear the during the festival season.”
 
• How many members participated? 75
 
• How much money did each member contribute? $0
 
• How much did it cost overall? $400

 

KOREA

• Why did you decide on these costumes?
“Black represents power, which goes with our dance. Also in most athletic world-wide events, such as the World Cup or the Olympics, the symbol ‘Chi-Woo-Chun-Wang,’ or ‘The God of War and Victory,’ is printed onto Korean athlete’s shirts. He was a king in BC 2706-2598. He unified Korea.
“The word in front of the costume is ‘KOEA.’ This is a combination of both Korean and English. The reason why this costume is important is because they are representing ‘unity’ and ‘strength’. We are performing a powerful dance so it matches with our performance.”
 
• How many members participated? 46-47
 
• How much did each member contribute? $3
 
• How much did it cost overall? $587.77
 
• How much did it cost overall?
Around $700
Date Published: 
Friday, May 12, 2017
Last Edited: 
Friday, May 12, 2017

NOTE: This story's online publication was delayed because it was featured in the May 2017 print issue.