Maple Ridge secondary is hosting its second annual multicultural week, starting Monday.
Each of the five regular school days will include activities and food to celebrate some of the various languages and cultures that can be studied in the school. The events will begin with Germanic culture day. In the afternoon, the library will be filled with the oom-pa-pa music of Bavarian folk music trio The Alpiners. This band has been an active part of many of Vancouver’s Oktoberfest celebrations and features Alphorn playing, as well as all variations of yodelling.
This performance will follow a delicious variety of German cuisine, such as schnitzel with spätzle, a kind of soft German egg noodles, red cabbage, beer-braised bratwurst and soft pretzels, sold in the cafeteria at lunch.
Tuesday will be dedicated to the celebration of Hispanic culture. The day will begin with a performance by mariachi band Los Dorados. These enthusiastic performers have played numerous times at the Guadalajara International Mariachi Festival. Their director and founder, Alex Algeria, has expressed that his goal is “to bring Canada the traditional music of Mexico.” There will be pinatas filled with Mexican candies in the cafeteria at lunch, as well as delicious Hispanic dishes, such as paella, sope and churros.
Wednesday is aboriginal culture day and will feature sweet bannock, cedar plank salmon, and local potatoes and vegetables in the cafeteria at lunch, as well as a presentation by Métis artisan Lisa Shepherd in the morning. Shepherd produces culturally inspired garments, provides presentations, workshops and teaches about cultural artwork and dance. Her Métis Artisan brand is recognized across Canada for its authenticity to Métis art and culture.
Shepherd’s presentation of Métis culture will be followed by the Taiko drum group Uzume Taiko. The group’s theatrical performance, which blends music and dance, will be the transition into the next day’s Asian culture celebration.
The second-to-last culture day will feature a variety of entertainment spread throughout the cafeteria during the lunch break. There will be tables set up around the cafeteria, where students can participate in a Japanese tea ceremony and test their artistic abilities by attempting traditional Japanese calligraphy, origami and ikebana, which is the traditional Japanese art of flower arranging.
While students are participating in the various activities, the cafeteria will be serving sushi, as well as Chinese and Korean dishes.
The final day of culture week is dedicated to French-Canadian culture. This will provide the opportunity for French immersion students to learn more about the culture of the language they study, as well giving all students at Maple Ridge secondary the chance to better understand the importance of French culture in Canada.
At lunch, the cafeteria will be serving tir d’érable, a delicious French-Canadian treat made by pouring boiled maple syrup over snow and rolling it onto a stick once it has chilled into a sort of Popsicle. There will also be hearty French dishes, such as tourtière, pea soup, beaver tails and poutine.
The final performance of the week will be the French-Canadian band Nicolas Pellerin et les grands hurleurs, winner of two traditional album of the year awards for its interpretation of French-Canadian folk music.
Aaron Mckimmon, a Japanese teacher at MRSS and organizer of Asian culture day, said celebrations such as cultural week “allows us to better understand the thoughts and feelings of those around us, especially in a multicultural country like Canada.”
He added: “The most amazing thing about learning a foreign language is the way someone’s eyes light up and a smile races to their face when they hear you speak to them in their language.”
And that is why he and fellow teachers Hella Beckman, Linda Morgan, Sherri Britton and Jacquie Burns volunteered to help organize the week’s events, because the more we learn about the cultures that surround us, the better we can appreciate the different individuals that make up these cultures and Canada.
Bronte Miner is a student at Maple Ridge secondary.