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Festivals you won’t want to miss
Bangla Mela July 7-8, Pista Sa Nayon July 15
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 5 juillet 2012

Courtesy Photo

The Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs (FAMAS) on Van Horne Ave. held a flag-raising ceremony on June 12 to commemorate the 114th anniversary of Philippine independence. The FAMAS Community Centre serves as a socio-civic, educational and cultural hub for Filipino-Canadians in Montreal and its suburbs.

The Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs (FAMAS) is celebrating the Pista Sa Nayon festival July 15, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Mackenzie King Park. Everyone is welcome.

FAMAS is preparing a special celebration this year. To mark its 50th anniversary, the association extended an invitation to Filipino ambassador Leslie A. Gatan.

“The Pista Sa Nayon festival is a village celebration of religious origin. Every town centre in the Philippines has a Catholic church and its own patron saint. The Pista Sa Nayon is the feast for their patron saint,” explained FAMAS president Aurora Osdon during an interview.

The festival is open to the general public and is a community event that many people look forward to, she says. The feast attracts two or three thousand people annually, so you’d better bring your own chairs.

The event starts with the traditional outdoor mass at 9 a.m. Throughout the day there will be Zumba, a Latin dance-fitness exercise animated by local Zumba instructor Mark Vicente. Starting at 11 a.m. there will be a variety show featuring children, teenagers and seniors groups, including a talent show on the stage. There will also be a basketball competition, Filipino-style parlour games, face painting, arts and crafts, traditional games commonly played by children and much more.

As many as 44 tents are expected this year, featuring vendors of Filipino products and arts and crafts and entrepreneurs who will be distributing lots of giveaways to take home, according to Osdon. Five food tents from local restaurants will be tempting the revellers.

Many volunteers are making this event possible with the collaboration of the CDN-NDG borough. The park must be all cleaned up by 8 p.m., says Osdon, and volunteers can always use extra help at the end of the day.

Bangla Mela 2012

On the weekend of July 7-8, don’t miss the 4th edition of the Bangla Mela at the Ecole Des Nations playground, 4860 Vezina.

The Mela is a gathering of people celebrating their rich Bangladeshi culture and traditions. It features family entertainment such as Mela stalls, food, a fashion show, dance, live music, exhibits, documentary displays, poetry, drama, comedy, be-who-you-want-to, and a DJ. The celebration will create opportunities for South-Asians to network within a diverse community.

The Bangla Mela is the only mela in Montreal to commission new work. It provides a platform for emerging Bangladeshi-Canadian artists and brings traditional and classical art forms to a wide audience.

The fair organizer is Dhoom Entertainment, a non-for-profit organization. About 3,500 participants are expected, a third of them from non-Bangladeshi communities.

[ Marie Cicchini ]

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