Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Enjoying our Canadian heritage

One of the things I really love about my country is that it welcomes people from all over the globe to become citizens, and I really love to see the different cultures celebrated at Edmonton's Heritage Days.

My niece sums it up perfectly in her status on Facebook: "Almost cried today because I was so happy that I can watch people dance their hearts out in their own way, and share their culture freely without judgement or harm. Loving heritage days!"

You said it, my dear girl!

And there's so much to love! I actually did cry when a Russian choral group from Calgary started to sing some very familiar melodies -- songs I remember hearing on a Russian record as a child. Getting old and sentimental, or something!

There's nothing like enjoying bratwurst and sauerkraut while listening to a German polka!
(Couldn't quite convince my daughter to dance with me, sigh.)
Both of my heritages, Russian and German, were within earshot of each other, 
so I got to hear both in my first five minutes
 in a park with 85 different nationalities represented.

For a complete change of pace -- here are some Greek knife-fighting dancers. 
One was left for dead (oh the drama!) but bounced back up with a smile and a flourish.

The Sudanese shishkabobs below were delish!
Compliments to the chef!

I could have happily listened to Guatemalan music for the afternoon, 
but there was just too much to see!

There were some yummy Israeli pastries beside these dancers' stage... 
and refreshing minty lemonade. Heritage Days means 
both entertainment and food, if you haven't yet guessed.

These gorgeous Polish young people had me thinking 
that I want to be a folk dancer in my next life.

Their performance told a story, where, at one point, 
they were so tired they were falling asleep as they danced.

Could have been the heat, which sent us into the Hawrylak Amphitheatre
for a wonderful showcase of different cultures' song and dance.
Below, some ladies do graceful Tai Chi to gentle oriental music.

This African group could really shake it up!

And the Chinese Dragon Dancers never stopped until the drummers did!

The park itself was lush and green after all our recent rains, for a pleasurable stroll.
I was happy to see the City of Edmonton's promotion of public transportation
as an effort to "give trees a year off"!

Wait a minute! What are the Wajjo West African Drummers doing at the Irish pavilion?
(My friend, Robert, is the third from the left, in the white cap.)

They're playing for the bonnie lads and lassies, of course,
in a wonderful Celtic/African fusion.

Here's a wee video taste of what we saw at the Irish Pavillion just before heading home. 

I'm very grateful that the Heritage Festival has been going on for these past 40 years, celebrating the many different people who make Edmonton such a wonderful place.
It's definitely worth a visit! I'm already looking forward to next year!

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