SURREY — Two events have been planned at Bear Creek Park this weekend in celebration of International Mother Language Day.
IMLD is celebrated on Feb. 21 around the world to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, and multilingualism.
On Saturday, Kwantlen Polytechnic University plans an event at the Bear Creek Pavilion, (13750 88th Ave.), from 2 to 5 p.m.
The celebration will include a blessing by KPU’s Elder-in-Residence and will be followed by presentations, performances and visual displays of local indigenous and heritage languages including Hul’q’umi’num’, Cree, Punjabi, Cantonese and Tagalog.
Guests will also have the opportunity visit the “Lingua Aqua”, a public art piece erected in Bear Creek Park in 2009 as a tribute to both the multiplicity and commonality of language across cultures.
Mohammad Aminul Islam, president of the Mother Language Lovers of the World Society BC, fought to have the monument erected back in 2009.
Islam is planning another event, at the same location, on Sunday at 4 p.m.
That celebration, too, will include a gathering of people who have various mother languages. Poems will be shared and songs will be sang, Islam told the Now Friday.
Islam said this year, many school districts – including Surrey, Vancouver, Langley, Richmond and Burnaby – have agreed to recognize International Mother Language Day.
He noted there are 172 languages spoken within the Surrey School District.
“Considering the multilingualism and multiculturalism intercultural society here, this is a break through year for B.C,” said Islam.
The goal of the celebration is for people to “know their identity, know their language, and learn about other languages,” remarked Islam.
KPU’s Department of Language and Cultures is also bringing the Canadian Language Museum’s exhibit “Cree: the People’s Language” to KPU for a two-week showcase Feb. 15 to 26, the first time the exhibit will be on display in British Columbia.