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Ice Skating Social

Sat, February 4, 2006
Frank Southern Ice Arena

What more is there to say besides, “It’s ice skating!” Come enjoy the wonder of gliding on ice, and come join the best group of skaters on earth…aka don’t be embarassed if you fall because I have a feeling everyone will have their fair share. If you need a ride, please email .

Restaurant Review: Shanti

Hours: Everyday 11:30am-2:00pm; 5:00pm-9:00pm; Closed Mondays
Location: 221 E. Kirkwood
Telephone: 812-333-0303

There are many who travel to the far corners of the world seeking to delight their tongues with exotic richness. Luckily, Bloomington happens to be in possession of such a corner. Shanti, housed on the corner of Kirkwood and Lincoln, delivers excellent food, wonderful service, and a quaint atmosphere.

Specializing in northern Indian cuisine, it is the perfect place to embark upon Indian food for the first or forty-third time. And for those who have a limited appreciation for Indian foods, Shanti will help redeem anyone’s opinion of it. One of Shanti’s signature dishes is its “butter chicken.” It consists of tender chicken smothered in a sweet, buttery sauce.

Pour it over rice or dip it in naan, the Indian flat bread, to elicit an orgasmic response. If you’re going with friends, be sure not to be the one to order it for you will be the only one without leftovers since everyone will want a helping.

On most nights the owner is personally there to take your order. He will ask you how you would like your dishes prepared, mild or flaming. The service is an extremely important part of the dining experience, and Shanti goes to great lengths to provide familiarity and comfort. Due to its intimate settings, it is a great place for a date or a small group of four or five friends.

Don’t be surprised by the costs of the dinner menu; it proves to be a bit more expensive than the other ethnic restaurants. However, they do have a great lunch selection at a more reasonable price.

Tet: No Kris Kringle, Evergreens, Presents, or Fruitcake, Just the Jade Emperor, Hoa Doa, Li Xi, and Mut

The Lunar New Year is the most celebrated holiday in Vietnam. Called Tet (pronounced “tdate” and not “tet” the way Americans in hokey war movies do) after Tet Nguyen Dan, this celebration usually lasts a full seven days, beginning with Giao Thua (or New Year’s eve), which falls on January 28th this year.

The Vietnamese uphold several traditions in honor of this holiday. First off, their entire houses are cleaned beforehand. This is to evade sweeping away all the good fortune – a superstition the Vietnamese harbor. In addition, the house is also trimmed with flowers and fruit. Small orange trees and hoa doa (blossoming peach trees) are staples for this purpose. This décor symbolizes rebirth and growth, both desirable things for the coming New Year. On Giao Thua, a ceremony seeing the departure of Ong Tao (or the Kitchen God) also takes place. It is believed that Ong Tao dwells in every Vietnamese household. On the last day of the year, he returns to the Jade Emperor (the big kahuna that rules the heavens) to report on the family’s behavior.

New clothes are also worn to symbolize the coming of a new year. At the toll of midnight, firecrackers are lit to ring in the New Year, as well as scare away any evil spirits that may be wandering about (yes, the Vietnamese are a superstitious people). On the actual first day of the New Year, pagodas or churches are visited and time is spent honoring ancestors. For this purpose, many houses prepare small alters set with fruit, flowers, incense, and portraits of the deceased ancestors. Some people keep these alters year-round in their houses.

Voluminous amounts of fantastically delectable food (such as the Hot Pot Open House occurring at the ACC, 1-4 pm this coming Sunday sponsored by the Chinese Culture Club), mut (sugary, candied fruits) and baked goods is also prepared and eaten in celebration of Tet, and li xi (little red envelopes full of lucky money) are passed out to children in exchange for kind wishes. Sometimes, li xi are also given out as birthday gifts. This is because many Vietnamese do not keep track of the exact dates of their birth (which is why my parents thought I was 17 for the past 3 years). Instead, people say they were born in the year of the symbol of the lunar calendar for that year, and everyone turns a year older on the New Year.

For the remaining days of Tet, dragon dances and gaming (gambling) take place, relatives and friends are visited, and gifts are exchanged. In America, Tet Festivals may be held to give Vietnamese families the opportunity to come together and celebrate old traditions away from the homeland. These festivals can also serve as tools to introduce the culture to non-Vietnamese communities.

Seol-ral: Korean Lunar New Year

Ancestor worship, visiting with relatives, gifts, and children receiving money are not things we associate with New Year’s celebrations but in Korea the bond of family runs deep in the Lunar New Year celebration. Seol-ral, or Korean Lunar New Year is a three day celebration which brings Korean back to their roots as they travel to their hometowns and come together with their families. On the first morning of Seol-ral everyone wears a hanbok, traditional Korean clothes, and performs a ceremony to memorialize their ancestors. Children honor their elders by bowing, and in return are given envelopes of money. Once the morning ceremony is complete the family moves to the ancestral gravesite where they have a large picnic in honor of their ancestors after a ceremony of bowing and paying respect to their ancestors. The traditional food eaten on this day is ddeok-guk, rice cake soup, which is believed to help bring age.

During the celebrations many families play games where both young and old participate. The most common games include Nol-Ttwigi, Kite Flying, and Yut. Nol-Ttwigi is similar to the Western see-saw but instead of sitting participants stand on each end and jump in order to see how high they can force the other person into the air. Yut is a game where four sticks are tossed into the air and combination of markings on the sticks facing upward determines the spaces a player moves along the board.

This year Seol-ral begins on January 29th, and the festivities will continue through the first lunar month as villages celebrate and hold ceremonies to ask the spirits for peace and good fortune in the year to come.

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