The British Columbia provincial government has set aside the 3rd week of November as multicultural weak. This year it is between November 18 and 24th.
The word culture was first used in ancient times by the Roman orator Cicero to refer to a “cultivation”, such as cultivation of the human spirit. Generally it refers to the full range of learned human behavior patterns that consist of belief, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. However religions, traditions, lifestyles, architecture, foods, education and nearly all other aspects of life can be considered to be a part of culture..
British Columbia is home to many different cultures, ethnicities, religions, traditions and many other facets of life and behavior. It is thus a very noble idea of the provincial government to set aside one week annually for the recognition and celebration of our cultural diversity. This necessitates the acceptance, by each one of us, of the cultures and traditions of other people with respect and understanding. No one culture can be said to be superior to another culture. They just happen to be different manifestations of the human need, according to geography, to live a meaningful life. This allows many people, or whole populations, to have a common bond expressed through their culture. It cements the relationships between people of that culture.
Since each culture transmits certain meaningful values to its members, every other culture does the same. Thus, acceptance of other cultures as having equal value to our own culture is of utmost necessity to maintain social harmony. As human beings, we have the intelligence to realize that all people have certain aspirations and values that are just as important to them as ours are important to us. We need to give up criticisms and judgments of other cultures. It is better if we learn about them, share with them, respect them and allow them to practice their cultures just as we practice our culture. The underlying premise is that, as human beings, we are all created equal. This equality is also enshrined in the Constitution of our country. Before God we are equal. We need to express that equality in our daily life as we deal with people who appear different ethnically, culturally, religiously, socially, educationally, and in any other different way. Therefore, on this multicultural week, let us accept other cultures with love, understanding, unity, cooperation and harmony.
Dr. J. Das is based in Surrey and can be reached at email: [email protected].