An unique opportunity to explore Red Deer’s cultural landscape is set for Feb. 22 at the G.H. Dawe Centre.
The Central Alberta Refugee Effort (C.A.R.E.) is inviting the community to a celebration of Mother Language Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Room 3 at the Centre.
Cristina Franco, volunteer coordinator at C.A.R.E., said there will be representatives from 12 to 15 different languages from English, French, Spanish, German and Italian to Urdu, Pashtu, Tagalog, Dutch, Korean, Portuguese and Japanese.
Volunteers will also be highlighting their cultures through games involving words in their languages. There will be some door prizes to win and ethnic food to sample as well as musical performances.
“We want to let the community know about the languages that are spoken here right now in Red Deer,” said Franco. “It’s also to commemorate the heritage of all the people that are here – the newcomers.”
Franco said C.A.R.E. has been hosting this event since 2010, and it’s been well-received by the community.
“People have been grateful to know what we are doing at C.A.R.E. and about the awareness that these types of activities bring to the community,” she said, adding there were between 150 to 200 participants last year.
“I hope people leave the event with more knowledge of the variety of cultures that are now in Red Deer.”
International Mother Language Day is recognized by UNESCO and celebrated annually worldwide on Feb. 21st to promote unity, diversity, and international understanding through multilingualism and multiculturalism, she added.
The day has been observed every year since 2000.
The date also commemorates the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bengali, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, which is the capital of present day Bangladesh.
This is the only event where people gave their lives to keep the independence of using their mother language. To remember them there is a monument named Language Martyr’s Monument (Shahid Minar) in Dhaka University, Bangladesh.
Every year more than a million people leave flowers there.
Language Martyr’s Monuments are also built in Ikebukoro park in Tokyo and many other cities in the world including the U.S., the U.K, Italy and several other countries.
For more information about the event in Red Deer, call C.A.R.E. at 403-346-8818.