BY ALYSSA MAHADEO
Yet another amazing trip around the world has come to a close, bringing the vibrancy and cultures from countries around the world right to your doorstep!
This past weekend Brampton celebrated thirty four years of Carabram, their renowned festival of cultures. Revered as one of the city’s biggest celebrations of multiculturalism, it’s one of the most proactive ways they have come together to celebrate the diverse ethnic communities of Brampton.
In 1982, Carabram started with just four pavilions – Italy, Ukraine, Scotland and the West Indies. Each pavilion represented their cultures through song, dance, vibrant costumes, displays, food and drink. Over the years the festival grew to include more community groups and represent a wider range of ethnicities across the city. Every year all of these community groups unite to help Carabram achieve its goal of stronger cross-cultural relations with a greater appreciation for diversity.
Over the course of three days residents of the GTA were invited to travel the world through pavilion portals that showcased more than seventy five different cultures grouped at several locations across Brampton.
In addition to the returning pavilions Carabram was more than happy to facilitate the addition of China, Latin America, India and Nepal to the family. This year Eelam took over the Brampton Soccer Centre, Latin America featured over twenty different Latino cultures including Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, while Nepal, Portugal and the Philippines put on a show at Century Gardens Recreation Centre. Each culture brought their own unique flair with lots of food, music and performances that really brought to life what it must have been like growing up in different parts of the world. Hawaii and India set up at the Terry Miller Recreation Centre with Africa next door at Judith Nyman Secondary School. Ireland brought the luck of the Irish to the Bramalea Lions Hall while Canada was hosted as in previous years at the Unifor Local 1285 Union Hall.
The Caribbean Islands took over the arena at the Chris Gibson Recreation Center sharing the stage with China and their majestic Chinese Dragon Dancers. This year the Caribbean Pavilion brought their A-list game, with lots of vendors, food and engaging performances to keep the crowds entertained. The recreation hall was ringing with the sound of steel pan and African drums, alongside the sweet musical lyrics of Soca provided courtesy of Level Exodus Band. Even the youngest faces were involved, grooving to the music, smiling laughing and having a great time.
In addition to all of the regular fun and excitement, this year Carabram introduced an art challenge for children. Teachers were able to enter their class in the Carabram Kids Art Challenge and help us celebrate Brampton’s cultural diversity during the festival July 8th -10th. Our theme is “Being Multicultural in Brampton.”
Also the Brampton Multicultural Youth Council had youth activities planned at six pavilions. These fun, interactive and educational activities organized at the China, Hawaii, India, Nepal, Philippines and Portugal pavilions were open to children from five to twelve years of age encouraging their involvement and education while celebrating the festival of cultures.
It was amazing to experience firsthand the coming together and intermingling of cultures. Patrons came to familiarize themselves with different cultures having little to no exposure to any culture other than their own. It was great to see them saturating themselves in all the different types of new experiences.
“We are dedicated to the preservation, development and promotion of the cultural heritage of the diverse ethnic cultures in our city. Our primary focus is to celebrate, educate and communicate with Bramptonians about the cultures that they live and work with every day. And that is our point of differentiation with all other major events in the city,” shared Carabram President Angela Johnson, “We encourage visitors to talk to pavilion volunteers about their culture and heritage.”
By offering a taste of these cultures it really gives you those wanderlust vibes, to pack up you bags, head to the airport and get on the first plane out of Toronto. As a Bramptonian it’s really great to be able to fit backpacking across the world into your weekend. You can purchase authentic souvenirs from every country, learn about their interesting history and see their unique and elaborate clothing first hand. In a city as diverse as ours its heartwarming to know that we never have to go too far to educate ourselves and that there is so much that we can learn from our neighbors.
In organizing and preparing for Carabram each and every year the pavilions strive to promote an understanding and appreciation for the multicultural nature of Brampton, while providing a fun and inclusive forum that showcases every individual culture in the world. Through their collaborations with one another Carabram would like to remove cultural barriers in the city, by providing an open forum to learn and interact with other cultures. Carabram invites you to come back next year, to experience even more authentic worldwide culture, with more pavilions, performances, food, drinks and amazing people, it’s a family event you won’t want to miss!