Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Multicultural Festival 2011: June 30 - July 3, 2011

The largest multicultural festival of its kind in Atlantic Canada, the annual RBC Multicultural Festival aims to give Nova Scotians an opportunity to explore the cultures of the world in Halifax, through music, dance, exhibits, crafts and food.

At its new location at the Halifax Seaport for the second year, the organizers were expecting such a large turnout, that they opened the festival one evening earlier than usual this time.

As anyone who's known me longer than a week will attest, I love food. And more than food, I love exotic food from around the world. The more eyeballs, testicles, and spices, the better!

Now, there weren't any balls of any kind this year (except for falafel), but there was enough chickpea and chicken to feed an army. I have a theory on this. It seems to me that it takes a special type of Western mentality to waste valuable land raising beef, when you could raise about a hundred chickens for the same price, in the same space.

This seems to be why many of the exciting cultures - where there have been enough people in a close enough space for a long enough time to actually have a unique culture - eat chicken. I'm sure you'll see my theory in textbooks within the next few years.

As a special treat, this year the African Diaspora Association of the Maritimes was serving up Ethiopian food (or a version of it). I was pretty excited about this because I've been trying to get my hands on some injera (moist, spongy, yeast-risen flat bread) again for more than five years now. Also, since I know you're wondering, "diaspora" is the African equivalent of "ex-pat."

With my belly happy, I went off to enrich my mind at the various cultural exhibits. Above, you can see me proudly displaying my recently acquired Taiwanese heritage.

At the Chinese Association of Nova Scotia's booth, I started a small trend (among those around me) by having the woman in yellow write out my name in Chinese. I also drank some Chinese oolong tea prepared traditionally (it involves a lot of theatrics, but still tastes like tea in the end.)

If I wasn't drinking tea, I was making friends. Here you can see Alexandra, from Russia, who was actually visiting Canada for about ten days and came to help out at the Russian Association booth. Additionally, I found the only set of straw woven, Russian-style sandals in Halifax here.

While I didn't get to see much of the cultural performances (technical difficulties), I did manage to sneak myself into an African dance workshop. A few eager young volunteers decided to give it a go on stage as well (future EPs, for sure.)

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