This August 4 through 17 marks 43 years of annual festivities for Folklorama, Winnipeg’s iconic multicultural event. A quick browse through the event page shows a flurry of exciting activity.
Attendance in 2012 was down from previous years, but the advent of social media has ushered generations of audiences old and new into the digital age of sharing their experiences, which could potentially yield a bigger turnout for the youth demographic in 2013. The World Tourism Organization dubbed Folklorama the festival “Best Depicting Canadian Culture” in 1997-98. Its presentation is a testament to Manitoba being home to a wide array of ethnicities.
Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, is now the second most spoken language in the city of Winnipeg. The city is also home to the third largest metropolitan population of Ukrainians in Canada. Both of the aforementioned ethnic communities have been consistently offering two successful pavilions each year.
That’s not to say that Folklorama is simply a celebration of the influx of immigration to Manitoba. Winnipeg in particular is home to the largest population of Aboriginals in Canada. The DOTC First Nations Pavilion will be active during the second week of festivities, and the Indigenous Mardi Gras Pavilion will be held in the first week for its second consecutive year, showcasing performances from the Manitoba First Nations and the Mardi Gras Indians of Louisiana. Both pavilions promise fun, educational experiences.
It is interesting to note that while there are two pavilions representing Canada’s Aboriginal populations, we are far from seeing the vast scope of rich, cultural heritage that this country is steeped in. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is comprised of 64 First Nations groups and Manitoba recognizes seven official spoken languages.
Winnipeg itself is a popular destination for new immigrants, and with its growth comes the need for their visible representation among the community. With its wealth of welcome programs, it comes as no surprise that such a valuable asset to the community as Folklorama is able to make a mark on the international stage.
What started as a one-time offering in 1970 has become one of Canada’s most successful cultural festivities. It began with the celebration of Manitoba’s centenary and went on to become what the Folklorama website boasts is the “largest and longest-running multicultural festival in the world.”
For more information on the events taking place at Folklorama, visit www.folklorama.ca