More than one hundred and fifty guests showed up at Lagan Village Community Centre, in East Belfast, Friday evening for the Peruvian Culture Evening, which is part of ongoing Intercultural events in the community.
Lagan Village Community Centre hosted Northern Ireland’s first ever Peruvian Culture Evening, bringing together hundreds of invitees who supported the event, from both the local community and Latin American Community in Northern Ireland.
The evening was highly praised by local MLA, Sammy Douglas, who was in attendance of the event, which brought together children from the LORAG Children’s Programme, in South Belfast who performed traditional Peruvian Dance and residents from the Lower Ravenhill Road area of East Belfast.
Ricardo Santa Cruz, creator of Belfast’s fusion dance project, Ritalsa Dance, and Co-Organiser of the Peruvian Culture Event in Lagan Village talked about the success of the event.
“I am very excited to have had the opportunity to share some of my culture here. The event was a huge success bringing together the Latinos in Northern Ireland and people from other cultures. It was also an opportunity to bring together groups from the different traditions in Northern Ireland. I hope this is the beginning of many more similar events.
“These type of events are extremely important to me and my family, as I have two children. It is important that they celebrate and understand their Northern Irish Culture and their Peruvian, and Latin American Culture. Events like this one, allow others to learn and appreciate different cultures, and allow a mutual respect and understanding to grow between communities.”
Over the past couple of years, Lagan Village Community Centre has established Cultural Outreach Programmes to help foster connections with residents of varied and diverse cultural backgrounds in the area.
George Newell, Community Development Worker for Lagan Village has helped organise these celebrations, which have brought together attendees, dancers, musicians, games and raffles. “It’s an opportunity for local residents to experience some of the diverse cultures which make up our area,” George said. “It is an opportunity to bring us all together and learn from each other.
George said he works to promote and celebrate various identities through programming and training in the Centre. “We are focused on raising awareness of the culture and heritage of our society.”
“Events like this are an opportunity for our local community to expand their opportunities, to celebrate cultural diversity.”
The East Belfast community centre recently hosted Hungarian and Scottish Culture events, and have plans for upcoming Indian, Chinese, African and St. Patrick’s Day events.
As East Belfast’s diversity continues to grow, support from the community translates into a desire by many to celebrate this new social structure and develop bridges to the community.