Communities Celebrating Together at the Carlisle Culture Bazaar
Carlisle Culture Bazaar is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and the two-day event will take place from 16 – 17 February at the Richard Rose Academy.
Organisers aim to bring minorities together to share similarities and celebrate their differences. It’s also a great opportunity for local people to experience the food, dance, music and art of people who may not have been born in Cumbria but still call Carlisle home.
Saj Ghafoor brought the first event to Carlisle in 2007 after she and her husband opened their Asian grocery store back in 2005: “We did not expect the ethnic mix of people living in Carlisle. The first thing customers would ask was if we knew anyone from their country. I ended up having a red book where I starting writing their name, number and country of heritage and matching them up with any other customers that also wanted a friend.”
The Culture Bazaar was born shortly after and began with 200 visitors coming together at Greystone Community Centre for the first bazaar. This year Saj expects nearly 5000 visitors to an event that has grown in popularity year on year.
“People always comment on the great atmosphere,” said Saj. “The ethnic communities engage by performing dances, singing, music and making food so people can try authentic home cooking from all the continents. The Culture Bazaar is a big family party and everyone is welcome. Last year over 50 nationalities were involved and it seems to be a surprise to everyone that Carlisle is so diverse. We aim to share the arts and the social aspects people miss about their communities and bring it to the wider the city, which helps breaks barriers down.”
Multicultural Carlisle is a charity made up of people who understand the barriers of social and community cohesion. Their flagship event for the year is the Culture Bazaar but they also host a series of community events like the Dance Carousel and craft, coffee and culture workshops.
The Culture Bazaar is not just about overcoming barriers, it’s also about unlocking the true Carlisle community spirit of tolerance, understanding and friendship.