The Lakeland Multicultural Association (LMA) is expanding its popular monthly Culture Bags program to St. Paul.

“The Culture Bags are packages that allow people to learn about different cultures by doing crafts that represent that culture, or doing activities and reading the information in the activity book,” said Kunal Jadav, LMA’s acting president. The activity books include some information and facts, and some videos about the different aspects of the culture like dance music or language.

Typical activities in the book have included colouring sheets for kids and word-search puzzles, and some stories that represent the featured culture.

The LMA started the project in February, distributing approximately 100 bags each month.

Jadav says that while everyone is familiar with Western holidays and festivals, the Culture Bags project brings attention and awareness to customs from the many cultures that thrive in Canada.

“People who are not of that ethnic culture get to learn about a different culture. And the people that are of the culture that’s highlighted, they feel represented and celebrated in their community,” he said.

The Culture Bag for May will celebrate Islamic culture as Muslims around the world observe Ramadan. 

Bags can be ordered though local FCSS organizations in Cold Lake, Bonnyville, and now St. Paul, and recipients will be given instructions for pickup.

The bag contents are assembled and packed by volunteers. Jadav says the project relies on approximately 50 volunteer hours per month.

“We are always looking for volunteers as well as board members on the Lakeland Multicultural Association to help us bring more projects and events that showcase the cultures that make the Lakeland Communities,” he said.

Culture is in the bag! The Lakeland Multicultural Association, which presented the highly-successful Diwali celebration in 2019 (pictured) is delivering a glimpse of diverse customs through its Culture Bag program. FILE PHOTO