Peter Symonds College held another vibrant annual Culture Day to encourage students to be proud of celebrating their cultural diversity.

The festivities were organised by a collection of individuals from the college, including members of South Asian Society, Filipino Society and Mediterranean Society.

Students were encouraged to showcase their heritage by wearing traditional clothing or accessories from their cultures to the day, on March 19.

Elmie, who came to college dressed in traditional Cameroonian clothing, said: “Culture Day encourages those who aren’t originally from British culture to feel more comfortable in this traditionally and predominantly British environment.”

Taking place in Mercers Hall, the day began at break time with a fashion show. Students walked the green carpet, on their own or in groups, brandishing their attire and flags to the cheering audience. 

Surrounding the hall were stalls run by members of the college, showcasing books, jewellery and boards displaying fun facts about different cultures. Many also shared food with visitors, so that pupils and staff could taste a large diversity of delicacies.

Reena ran the Nepali stall, serving food such as momos, which are traditional Nepali dumplings.

She thoroughly enjoyed researching for her stall, seeing it as a chance to connect and educate other people.

Reena emphasises the importance of the day. She said: “Culture Day helps us take pride in something that’s such an important part of our identity, and destroy social barriers and biases.” 

Lydia and Sophia Katsis pioneered another stall that represented Greek and Cypriot culture. Sophia’s grandmother made Koupepia: pork mince, tomato, onion and rice wrapped in a vine leaf.

Katsis said: “Nobody so far from the Mediterranean has represented during Culture Day, and I thought it was important to take the first step. I think Culture Day is important to give everyone the opportunity to meet people from similar backgrounds and to just have fun!”

They plan to start a college Mediterranean Society together in September, and encourage anyone curious to join. 

At lunch time, performances were held by Filipino Society, Afro-Caribbean Society and South Asian Society, including instrumentalists, singing and dancing.

Lily, a member of the crowd, enjoyed the performances. She said: “I was able to learn more about different cultures through entertainment”.

Sophia Acebedo, as a proud member of Filipino society, performed a solo guitar rendition of “Mabagal” by Moira Dela Torre, a modern, jazz-inspired ballad about slow-dancing. She was inspired to perform to show her support for Filipino Society, and showcase the beauty her culture has to offer.

She said: “Performing an OPM [Original Pilipino Music] song is a way for me to share with others the music that I’ve always cherished and always been proud of. Listening and performing OPM songs makes me feel as if I am back home. It is a reminder of our culture and heritage that I want to share with everyone.”

  • This article was written by Caitlin Dela Cruz, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter Scheme.