You may not be able to travel the world to experience different cultures right now, but an online festival aims to help Manitobans learn about the different cultures that exist here at home.
Ethno Fest is an online destination to help people learn about the language, music, dance, food and history of over 30 different cultural groups in Manitoba. It is hosted by U Multicultural Channel, a non-profit community media platform.
“During the pandemic, we wanted to enlighten some people, bring them together to celebrate the community,” U Multicultural Channel spokesperson Ryan Funk told CBC Winnipeg News at 6:00 p.m. Friday.
The festival allows people to talk about their culture in their own words.
One of the people featured in Ethno Fest 2021 is Lakshika Prasad, a women and gender studies student at the University of Winnipeg. She moved to Winnipeg from New Delhi at the age of 14.
In his video, Prasad talks about cultural adornments for women, especially married women, in India – the bindi, sindoor, and mangala sutra.
The bindi, or a sticker placed between a woman’s eyebrows, represents the soul within or the third eye, Prasad said.
Although many married women wear it, Prasad said that some single women wear it as well.
“She can wear it because she wants to represent her marital status or her husband or she can just wear it because she likes to wear it. Either way, I think… the central theme here should be choice and all of his choices should be respected, ”Prasad told CBC Manitoba. Weekend morning show Saturday.
The sindoor is a line of red powder which is drawn across the top of a woman’s forehead vertically towards her eyes and is intended to represent the divinity within women. It also signals that a woman is not accessible because she is married, Prasad said in her video.
The mangala sutra is one of the most important symbols for married women, said Prasad. It is a necklace made of black pearls, which protect against bad energies, with a gold pendant that represents Devi, or the Sanskrit word for goddess, which is believed to be in every married woman.
This is aimed at solidifying the marital engagement and the promises they make, Prasad said.
Prasad’s video is one of more than 20 videos that share different facets of Manitoba’s many cultural groups, including Brazilian history, Liberian drum, and Pakistani culture.