South Asian Heritage Month takes place annually between 18th July – 17th August.
This year’s theme was “Stories to Tell” and ABA Leeds hosted and celebrated an event at Leeds Civic Hall on 15th August, bringing together remarkable and inspiring stories, shared cultures, histories, diverse experiences and heritage of South Asians in Britain.
With CEO Debbani Ghosh opening the event and Councillor Eileen Taylor’s introduction speech, guest speakers reclaimed their history and identity by sharing their own stories and experiences. These took us back to childhood, growing up in the UK as children of immigrant parents, stories highlighting how the South Asian community has been a crucial part of the labour market.
We celebrated the rich vibrancy, colourful cultures and traditions of our South Asian communities with traditional dancing performances from Gujrati Garba group to Bollywood. An award winning performance from Sikh Elders sharing their journey to the UK, highlighting the themes of love, sacrifice and the struggles of leaving families behind.
Traditionally poetry performances by Yorkshire Adabee Forum celebrated the rich cultural heritage of the Urdu language.
Guests attended an array of free workshops from yoga, henna painting, demonstrations on how to put on a sari, turban tying and hijab attaching, flag making, giddha and lino printing.
ABA’s spice corner displayed traditional spices from South Asia that were once difficult to find and now are both widely available in our supermarkets and local shops, as well as used in the UK as part of dishes from diverse cultures. The display inspired conversations about cultural and traditional dishes.
One of the great things about the event was the opportunity to share and learn about the diversity of migration histories from our South Asian communities in Leeds that inspire us to celebrate our interwoven past, cherish our shared present, and look together for a brighter future built on inclusivity, appreciation and joy in all our similarities and differences.