Cel­e­brat­ing our Cul­tures

Cul­tural en­thu­si­asts take over North Penn High School for In­ter­na­tional Spring Fes­ti­val

North Penn Life - - FRONT PAGE - By Jennifer Con­nor jcon­nor@jour­nal­reg­is­ter.com

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.

Pho­tos by Mark C. Pso­ras

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

the fes­ti­val.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.