What comes to mind when you think of a celebration? A wedding, birthday party, Christmas or Hannukah? All these examples of special occasions bring people together for a unified cause.
“Celebrations are about people sharing their joys and sorrows surrounding their ideals, beliefs, their experience and their history, and are often expressed in ways that become traditions for that society.”- Julie Owen
Cultural celebrations both unite and educate us by supplying a way to foster respect and understanding across cultures. They create an opportunity to acknowledge our common interests and differences. They are also an excellent way to pass on knowledge, traditions, language, values, and history to the next generation.
Cultural celebrations also:
- Help overcome stereotypes- Education through celebration helps to remove any existing stigmas and assumptions.
- Build cultural awareness- Learning about diverse cultures helps remove cultural barriers and build bridges through understanding.
- Discourage racism- Communal growth occurs by acknowledging and respecting cultural differences and commonalities.
- Encourage unity- Cultivating a sense of humanity, equality and empathy to stand in solidarity across all cultures.
Festivals are a fantastic way to celebrate culture. They offer an opportunity to view a group’s way of life, thinking, history, identity. At a festival you can experience culture through art, food, clothing, music, and poetry, just to name a few. They are a one stop shop to honor, celebrate and immerse yourself in the unique offerings of a culture.
Not into festivals? Consider celebrating another culture by:
- Visiting an exhibition or museum dedicated to another culture
- Learning about another religion
- Watching a film from another country
- Listening to music from a different culture
- Playing a game or sport from a different culture
- Cooking traditional food from another country
- Learning about traditional stories from other cultures
- Learning another language
- Volunteering with an organization working for diversity and inclusion
As April ushers in springlike weather, it also presents the opportunity to celebrate the following:
- Autism Awareness Month
- Arab-American Heritage Month
- Tartan (Scottish American) Heritage Month
- First Day of Ridvan
Not sure what each of the celebrations above reference? No worries, this presents the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself. Let this new season also bring new cultural awareness. Take a few moments to research the celebrations above and why they’re important to cultural diversity.