We salute the bravery of England’s Morris Dancers and their fans who refused to let rain stop their annual May Day dances at dawn in High Park. Not all of our festivals continue in the face of such hardships though High Park’s roads will be closed this week for cherry-blossom viewing. Check weather reports carefully as you probably have to walk about 800 metres to see them. Shelter is in the nearby Grenadier Restaurant if necessary. Make sure the blossoms are at their peak: https://highparknaturecentre.com/2/cherryblossom
This week the following events reflective of our cultural diversity are indoors. You can choose from 122 Asian Heritage events at our libraries. Our Jewish and our Dutch neighbours also celebrate May as their heritage months. You can join some of our Muslims in their homes to share their first meal of the day during their Ramadan fasting period. Our Jamaicans have a diaspora conference, and a Different Booklist has a talk about Creole culture and a book launch on U.S. refugees to Canada. Our Burmese friends celebrate their New Year. Most of these events are free.
Asia. Asian Heritage Month. Toronto Public Library. Different dates, times and venues. Free. A great list of events that include authors: Samra Zafar and her A Good Wife (the victim of an arranged marriage); William Ging Wee Dere and his Being Chinese in Canada, and Ann Hui and her Chop Suey Nation.
Also workshops on making sushi, henna art, Bollywood dancing, and Vietnamese cooking (from author Kim Thuy). Look also for tai chi exercises, ancient Japanese swordsmanship, and the music of India’s Rajasthan. https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/search.jsp?N=&No=0&Ntt=Asian+Heritage+Month
China. Hakka. Exhibition: The Hakka Odyssey: Identity, Culture, and Beyond, curated by the Toronto Hakka Heritage Alliance (THHA). This Exhibition runs from May 1 to September 30, 2019. Mon-Thu: 9am-7pm; Friday: 9am-6pm. Sat & Sun: Closed. Free. Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, 8th Floor, Robarts Library, 130 St. George Street.
“This exhibition is a cooperative effort of eleven organizations whose members live in the GTA and hail from the Hakka Chinese Diasporas of China, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mauritius, Indonesia, Trinidad, Taiwan, and South Africa… Each Hakka community from a different region has slightly different customs and traditions due to the surrounding culture of the country that they immigrated and adapted to.”
Ruth’s Note: Hakka food is probably best known in Toronto as a fusion of Indian and Chinese cooking. The cuisine migrated to India before it arrived here, but actually, this is only one Hakka variety. There are more.
To learn more about this interesting Chinese-sub-group, visit their exhibition: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-hakka-odyssey-identity-culture-and-beyond-tickets-60093414019#
Jamaica. 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference. Toronto Launch. May 7. 6:30pm. Free. Jamaican Canadian Association, 995 Arrow Road. Keynote speaker is Senator, the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/8th-biennial-jamaica-diaspora-conference-toronto-launch-tickets-60594247024/am
Jewish. A Temple Sinai Study Program: Dear Zealots — Letters From a Divided Land. May 4 and every week until June 8, 2019. 12:30-1:30pm. Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto, 210 Wilson Avenue. 416-487-4161. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Just weeks before his passing, acclaimed author Amos Oz released an incomparable series of essays on the universal nature of fanaticism and its possible cures, Jewish roots of humanism and the need for a secular pride in Israel, and the geopolitical standing of Israel in the wider Middle East and internationally…” http://www.templesinai.net
Muslim. Meet Your Neighbour. Ramadan Family Dinners. “Intercultural Dialogue Institute cordially invites you to participate in a unique experience at your ‘neighbour’s home’. Are you interested in learning more about the tradition, culture and life style of your neighbours? Don’t miss this opportunity!
“The Meet Your Neighbour Project is designed to give participants the opportunity to experience the special and sacred observances of other faiths/cultures. These dinners take place in an intimate family setting with a home cooked meal which provides the best setting for learning about other faiths and cultures firsthand.
“Featuring Now: Iftar Dinners (Fast-breaking Dinners with Muslim Families) any date between May 5 and June 3, 2019. Eating starts after sundown. Free.
“Ramadan is the holiest time of the year for Muslims around the world, and it is the month of sharing. Every year, IDI GTA facilitates family iftar (fast-breaking) dinners for those who wish to experience an iftar dinner…”
*Please listen to the interview about Ramadan Iftar Dinners on Metro Morning at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/meet-your-neighbour-ramadan-1.3629933
Myanmar. Burma. Burmese New Year Thingyan Festival. May 4. 3-8pm. Free. Cecil Community Centre, 58 Cecil Street. “You, your family and friends of Burma are cordially invited…Traditional dances, music and taste of authentic Burmese cuisine.” http://www.burmacanadianassociation.ca/
Netherlands. Public activities on the occasion of Dutch Heritage Month will take place across Ontario in the month of May, commemorating liberty and the bond between The Netherlands and Canada. More activities will be added closer to date.
“Ontario is home to more than 500,000 Dutch Canadians. In 2011, the Province of Ontario proclaimed the month of May as Dutch Heritage Month in recognition of the important contributions that Dutch Canadians have made to the economic, political, social and cultural fabric of Ontario’s society since the early 1800’s.
“May is a historically significant month for the Dutch Canadian community. On May 5, 1945, the Canadian forces were instrumental in the liberation of the Netherlands from occupation during World War II. The Netherlands celebrates its independence and liberty, along with the heroic efforts of the Canadian forces, with a national holiday known as Liberation Day, which takes place annually on May 5.” Sorry we were late in telling you about the May 2 event at Queen’s Park but hopefully, there will be more events.
St. Lucia. A Talk by Embert Charles: Traditional Knowledge, The Kwéyòl language and public policy in the small nation state. May 9. 7-9pm. A Different Booklist, 777 Bathurst Street.
The Kwéyòl language has its origins in French and West African languages and is known also as Creole or patois. Toronto has an annual Creole festival. https://adifferentbooklistculturalcentre.com/event/a-talk-by-embert-charles-traditional-knowledge-the-kweyol-language-and-public-policy-in-the-small-nation-state
U.S. Canada. Book Launch: American Refugees Turning to Canada for Freedom. May 10. 6:30. A Different Booklist. 777 Bathurst Street. https://adifferentbooklistculturalcentre.com/event/book-launch-american-refugee-turning-to-canada-for-freedom