Celebrating our Cultures
Cultural enthusiasts take over North Penn High School for International Spring Festival
V isitors by the thousands embraced the diverse cultural roots of many in our own nation at the 22nd annual International Intern Spring Festival held April 20 at North N thP Penn Hi High School. In a lineup that included cultural dance performances, musical entertainment, international food samplings and cultural lessons, the festival ran all day from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Sharmiln Banerjee, of King of Prussia, but originally from West Benghal, India, said she eagerly returned to the festival DIWHU fiUVW HxSHULHnFLng LWV energy last year.
“This is so colorful,” Banerjee said. “I love the dancing, dresses and especially that it’s an event for children.”
Banerjee is a teacher at the Friends of Bangla School in King of Prussia, which has a sister school in Lansdale. The school caters to the many Indians in Lansdale of West Benghal descent by connecting the children who are growing up in America with their heritage by teaching the Benghali language, literature and culture.
Friends of Bangla School ran a table in the main gym at the International Spring Festival, displaying artifacts, crafts and other cultural emblems while answering questions about the West Benghal culture.
Wearing a sari, a traditional woman’s Indian dress, BanerMHH HxSUHVVHG MRy DW WKH VLgKWV around her.
“Bringing our kids to an event like this makes them feel proud of their culture and that they are different,” Banerjee said. “They get to see other cultures and it makes them more inspired to learn about their own culture.”
The International Spring Festival, organized by the Lansdale Public Library and the International Spring Festival Committee, began in 1991. The International Club that met at the library was run by Peter Manakos, who immigrated from Greece. There were many other immigrants in the club who wanted to share their cultures, so they organized the fiUVW IHVWLYDO, DFFRUGLng WR 7RP Meyer, director of the Lansdale Public Library.
“The festival has grown larger every year,” said Meyer, who has been helping to lead the festival’s planning for the SDVW VLx yHDUV DIWHU YROunWHHUing for three years.
Meyer caught his favorite performance by the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble that specializes in African ethnic dancing toward the beginning of the day.
“When you watch the dancing and listen to the music you realize even though it’s so different than what you’re used to you feel the same rhythm,” Meyer said. “You can feel a sense of unity realizing we all have the same basic needs.”
Meyer said the festival tried to demonstrate the common threads of humanity by hosting a health IDLU Ln WKH DuxLOLDUy gyP DV part of this year’s International Spring Festival. There people of any background could get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked, participate in HxHUFLVHV DnG OHDUn DERuW RWKHU ways to stay healthy.
Sandra Falco, of Norristown, danced the Chiapaneca dance, WUDGLWLRnDO WR CKLDSDV, 0HxLFR, with an ensemble on stage in the main gym.
She recently got into ethnic dancing and said she enjoys performing.
“Though I wasn’t born in 0HxLFR, GDnFLng WKH WUDGLWLRnDO way makes me feel a part of my culture and connect to my heritage,” Falco said.
Besides watching performances and visiting cultural displays, visitors could enjoy international foods from India, 1HSDO, 0HxLFR, ,WDOy DnG CKLnD among others in the school’s cafeteria.
Above, a Lee-Ming Cultural Association dancer presents a routine.
A Above, Manna on Main Street Program and Development Coordinat tor Kristyn DiDominick a along with Lance Davidson pin up a sign for t the event.
Left, the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble perform.
Right, flags of various nations and a globe are displayed during