INDIA: Community Learns about Mising Culture at “Ethnique” Festival
(MissionNewswire) India’s second annual Ethnique Festival in India took place in early January. After the success of last year’s festival the event was held again and highlighted the culture, music and traditions of the young Mising, an ethnic group in India. The event took place over a three day period and was held in buildings at Don Bosco-Life Plus.
The opening remarks by Father Thomas Kalapurackal, rector and promoter of the event, focused on youth seeing the worth and value in cultural and ethnic differences, and he noted that that by seeing and embracing these differences individuals and communities are built.
The festival involved young Misings, who attend the Salesian-run informal education program known as I-Card or the Young Misings Association. In total close to 200 young people, mostly older youth who have left school but who do not as yet fully fit into the community, attend this program.
These youth were responsible for the preparation and execution of the festival, from setting up, making and selling craft items, organizing performances and lighting to preparing materials on local cuisine. Another special attraction were the many stage scenes presented by the young Misings that brought to life traditional stories from Mising culture and the various rituals that mark community life.
“We are proud to be Misings and are happy to show our rich culture, customs and rituals to the people,” says Rakesh Kuli, a student.
According to the World Bank, between 2003 and 2009, the number of out-of-school children declined from 25 million to eight million. But not all youth have access to the same educational opportunities. The Salesians have a long history of helping poor youth in India. From providing education and technical training that prepares youth for employment to art and cultural events like this festival, the Salesians focus on creating opportunities for their students to become well-rounded citizens and future leaders in their community.
The festival’s aim, in addition to celebrating Mising culture, was to remind tribal youth of the importance of belonging to a community. Each individual, rich in culture and history, contribute to a community. And as the festival noted, differences are to be embraced.
“We have planted a seed. We are going to see it grow.” adds Fr. Kalapurackal. “With the type of media attention and public support which has begun to show up through donations, Ethnique is a sure bet. For the marginalized young, it is a dream come true.”
See related article to learn more about Mising Culture: INDIA: Dropouts Turned Cultural Preservationists, Youth Leaders
Salesian Missions – India