As we get closer to Christmas, Toronto is bursting full with many festivals, musical concerts and parties. December 21 is the winter solstice. The biggest event marking the longest night of the year seems to be in Kensington Market. But other cultures also celebrate this beginning of an end to dark mornings and early evenings too; among them are First Nations, Persian, and New Age.
This week we also have an interactive play in Arabic and English about immigrants, free concerts of Christmas music, and a Christmas concert with a Latin beat. A French Israeli, North African film. Sufi music, poetry and dervishes. The International Folk Dance End of Season Party — just a sampling of the exciting events in our culturally-diverse city.
Arabic. Syria. Home Away from Home. December 15 and 16. Doors will open for refreshments at 6:30pm. Shows at 7pm. Free. Showcase created and performed by community participants for the community. Friends House, 60 Lowther Avenue. Near St. George subway station. Bedford Road exit. Arabic and English with no subtitles. Generously supported by the Catherine Donnelly Foundation. This show will be performed in both Arabic and English.
‘We invite the community to attend our interactive theatre performances, opening the dialogue on the main complexities and challenges that adult newcomers face when integrating in Canada. We welcome you all to see how we use theatre as a tool for dialogue and expression around issues of identity, loneliness, cross-cultural adaptation, and homesickness.
“This is created and performed by community participants and professional facilitators from Mixed Company Theatre with the support of the Syrian Canadian Foundation, the Arab Community Centre of Toronto, and Scadding Court Community Centre.” https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/home-away-from-home-an-art-for-integration-event-tickets-53148605911?aff=ebdssbdestsearch
Christmas Music. You can find a big choice of traditional or contemporary Christmas music on: https://www.todocanada.ca/Christmas+Concerts+Carols+in+GTA/3/
e.g. Orpheus Choir’s Sounds of the Season. December 19. 12pm. Free. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street. https://www.todocanada.ca/city/toronto/event/orpheus/
Especially interesting for fans of multiculturalism is the Brownman Akoustic 4-tet – Xmas Concert. December 16. 8-11pm. $10-$15. La Rev, 2848 Dundas Street West. Its program includes the likes of “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” as a Brazilian samba, and “Frosty the Snowman” with a Cuban twist. https://www.todocanada.ca/city/toronto/event/brownman-akoustic-4-tet-xmas-concert-2
France. Israel. North Africa. Film. Father’s Footsteps (Comme ton père) presented by the TJFS and the Alliance Française de Toronto- Sunday, December 16. 4pm and 7:30pm. $10-$15. Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Avenue (at Bloor).
“The story of a family from North Africa settling in Paris in the 1970s. A crime drama and coming-of-age movie from the French-Israeli movie director Marco Carmel featuring big names of the French and international movie scenes: Richard Berry, Gad Elmaleh, and Yael Abecassis. The movie will be presented by Christophe Plantiveau, principal of the Spadina campus and Marketing and Communication director of our partner Alliance Française de Toronto.”
For more information on the movie, the screenings, a trailer, and tickets, please click on: https://www.mnjcc.org/events/952-father-s-footsteps-comme-ton-pere.html
Middle East. Iran. Muslim. Shab-e-Arous: An Evening of Sufi Poetry, Music, and Remembrance. December 16. 6-8pm. $15-$20. Children 12 and under free. Auditorium, Noor Cultural Centre, 123 Wynford Drive.
“Shab-e-Arous is the annual commemoration of the death of Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi – referred to as his ‘wedding night’ because he is said to have attained union with God. Please join dervishes of the Rifai Sufi Order for a sacred evening to mark the occasion. The program features Shaykh Murat Coskun, and includes poetry recitations in Farsi & English, music, sema (whirling) and zikr (remembrance practice). Everyone is welcome to practice and/or observe”: https://noorculturalcentre.ca/shab-e-arous-an-evening-of-sufi-poetry-music-remembrance/
Multicultural. Christmas. 53rd Toronto City Hall Christmas Concert. Thursday, December 20. Noon to 1pm. Free. City Hall Rotunda, 100 Queen Street West. “… one of City Hall’s longest-running traditions… Christmas carols and seasonal favourites performed by the internationally acclaimed Toronto Mass Choir, Toronto Beaches Children’s & Youth Chorus, Pan Fantasy Steelband and Tower Brass. The event will also feature a reading by Toronto Poet Laureate Anne Michaels and a special guest appearance by Santa Claus. Bring your voice to sing-along with the carols!” https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/more-city-produced-events/city-hall-christmas-concert/
Multicultural. End of Season International Folk Dance Party. December 21. 8-11pm. $8. Bring pot luck snack. Room 122, University of Toronto Schools, 371 Bloor Street West. https://www.meetup.com/Recreational-Folk-Dance/events/256577489
Multicultural. Winter Solstice. Iran. Zoroastrian. Yalda (Winter Solstice). December 21. Many Iranians celebrate with expensive parties like that at the Riviera Event Centre, 2800 Hwy7, Vaughan. https://iran.ca/en/?geodir_search=1&etype=all&stype=gd_event&s=+&near=&event_calendar=20181221 and https://iran.ca/en/events/ontario/vaughan/nightlife/yalda-night-celebration/#post_profile
A Zoroastrian celebration is on Saturday, December 22. 6pm-10:30pm. Main Hall and Kitchen, Zoroastrian Temple, 3590 Bayview Avenue. https://zso.org/
New Age. Winter Solstice. Sound Bath Concert. December 15. 8-9:30pm. $45 + HST seated ticket. The Rock Store, 154 Harbord Street.
“Join Megan Marie Gates for a Winter Solstice sound ceremony at The Rock Store. The Winter Solstice (Yule) marks the longest night of the year and the rebirth of the Sun. Together, we reflect on this incubation period of darkness, and celebrate the return of the Light to our world. Our ceremony will include energy work and cleansing rituals, meditation, prayer and a full sound bath (crystal singing bowls, hang drum, mantra, voice, and more). Please bring a journal and a pen to write with“: https://www.therockstore.ca/products/solstice-sound-bath-concert-dec-15-th-1
Pagan. 29th Annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival. December 21. 7pm. Free. Kensington Market. Highly recommended participatory lantern parade gathers at Oxford and Augusta to celebrate the longest night of the year and the beginning of longer days. Good for all families. You don’t have to be Pagan to join. Starts at 6:30pm and in previous years it wound its way through the market to Alexandra Park at Dundas and Bathurst for a bonfire finale. For more information and where to buy lanterns if you so wish: https://www.redpepperspectacle.com/2018-winter-solstice-festival.html
Note from Ruth: TorontoMulticulturalCalendar.com chooses to promote events that encourage a feeling of community in our culturally diverse city. Mention doesn’t mean endorsement as we try to include events we think readers will find stimulating in the cultures of other groups. If you go to any of our mentioned events, please send us corrections or an account of your impressions so we will know whether or not to mention these events in future.
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