Birmingham: Brummies have been celebrating the culture, cuisine and history of the Indian subcontinent to mark South Asian Heritage Month.
The cultural awareness month is observed across the UK from July 18 through to August 17.
It provides an opportunity to deeply appreciate and better understand the vibrant nature of South Asian Heritage, from its food, music, dance, and art. It is also a time to learn about the contributions of South Asian countries and people to the UK and the world.
It is a time to deeply understand and raise awareness of South Asian culture and history to ensure that these roots are not forgotten. Countries that make up South Asian include India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan.
Gathering at the Zellig in Digbeth’s Custard Factory complex, local residents from various backgrounds came together to celebrate and learn more about South Asian customs and traditions, while enjoying plenty of veggie and meat samosas, elaborate henna hand painting; and all while enjoying Hindi, Punjabi and Bengali music.
Farzana Quddus, a henna artist from Aston, said: “With South Asian communities, we all have different qualities so it’s nice to find out about everyone’s culture and heritage.
“We all have different upbringings so it’s nice to come together as a community and learn about each other’s beliefs and outlooks on life.
“It’s fantastic to celebrate different cultures, especially as Britain we have different diversities so it’s really meaningful to myself as a South Asian to see different faces in this room and in our community”
South Asian Heritage Month can be celebrated in many ways. Through community events, such as festivals, cultural performances, and educational workshops which are a great way to learn about South Asian culture; and to meet people of South Asian descent.
Not only does it bring communities together, it also encourages others to share their own stories and experiences relating to their South Asian heritage.
This year, South Asian Heritage Month will be celebrating the lived experience that makes up the vibrant community through its ‘Stories to Tell’ theme, sharing stories and experiences which help us to understand heritage and how it connects us to one another.
Reflecting on South Asian Heritage Month festivities, Morshed Akthtar from Walsall said: “It is important to me because being a South Asian community person, I believe we have been contributing to the community, this country and globally as well.”
“The time we are living in is like integration, coming together, that is why it is important to me to become as a whole, part of the whole community.”
The event was hosted by Migrant Voice, a national migrant-led organisation working to empower migrants to share their stories in London, Glasgow and Birmingham.
Loraine Masiya Mponela from Migrant Voice said: “We thought we should mark the event because it’s such an important time for us all.
“Bringing all communities to celebrate South Asian Heritage strengthens our coexistence as humans and brings awareness of a culture so rich.
“Coincidentally, the theme for this year is ‘Stories to Tell’ and Migrant Voice too exists to tell and share the stories of all migrants.”
South Asian Heritage Month takes place between 18 July – 17 August, 2023.