Sunday, September 16, 2012
Refugees and immigrants, from the Strangers in the 16th century to the East Europeans in recent years, have always been welcomed to Norwich, and an annual celebration of the multi-cultural city was held at the Forum today.
Each year the Festival of Culture provides a focus through which Norwich Mind promotes, challenges and develops an understanding of multi-culturalism, equality, and diversity in the city.
And today’s event was a chance for the estimated one in 10 people in Norwich who came from abroad to show everyone else what they bring to the community.
Paola Colombo, who works for Norwich Mind as an inclusion officer, said: “This is the eighth festival that we’ve done but the first one at the Forum. The idea is to show the people of Norwich how diverse the city has become, and to take pride in it.”
She said that about 11pc of the city’s residents came from overseas, with about 28 different languages spoken in the city.
Among the communities represented was the Bulgarian, which comprises about 1000 people in Norfolk, according to Galya Clark, from Wymondham.
She said: “Many Bulgarians have been in the area more than five years and we have more than 100 members on our Facebook page.”
Visitors to a Bulgarian stall at the Forum were able to sample some delicious food including lukum, a type of Turkish delight, a Bulgarian white cheese called sirene, and pitka, a home-made bread. All of these foods are available from a new Bulgarian shop in Dereham Road, Norwich.
Visitors were also entertained by Norwich Malayalees, traditional dance from South India, whose members included Dana John and Alisha Kallarackal, who both live in Norwich.