One of the many things I enjoy about summers in Canada are the large number and variety of ethnic festivals held around the country. Like the United States, Canada has derived much of its character from its many immigrant groups. People are encouraged to celebrate their heritage, culture and traditions, while become part of the national melting pot.
If you’re interested in learning more about the culture of a country, visiting one of these festivals is an excellent way to take a “mini-trip” to that destination. This year I wanted to explore somewhere I’d never been to before, so decided to stop by the Calgary Ukrainian Festival. Over a weekend, the large Ukrainian community of the city presented a great celebration of its heritage. I was very impressed with the organization, attendance, large numbers of volunteers who worked and performed at event, but especially of the many teens and young adults who were actively participating.
The highlights of the Festival were the beautiful colorful outfits and wonderful dances of great style and variety, performed mostly by the younger generation of Ukrainian – Canadians. During the three hours I was in attendance, there was nearly always a group on stage and another waiting to perform in the wings. The annual event also showcases Ukrainian arts, cuisine, culture and hospitality.
Ukrainian arts and crafts were available, including colorful blouses and shirts, boots, ceramics, pysanky (painted eggs) and other artwork. Ukrainian food and beer were for sale and there are some displays outlining the history of the Ukrainian community in this part of Canada. I spent about 15 minutes talking to an elderly volunteer who shared some wonderful stories about life back when the prairies were scarcely populated. The next two photos are examples of some of these displays….
What follows is a visual sample of what I saw that afternoon:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, then right arrow to advance the slideshow)