International Mother Language Day 2022

It’s been a very busy and exciting few weeks here at Sundae; we’ve been hard at work on this year’s edition of International Mother Language Day and WOW has it been a thrill for me – the new Bulgarian  member of the team! 


After what felt like the longest year ever, filled with perpetual lockdowns and a chain of critical rules, pinning culture down to our computer screens, the Manchester City of Literature team members put their heart and soul into the fifth edition of the festival, which came back IRL with a full live programme of events. 


Commemorated globally on 21st February, UNESCO’s IMLD is an annual celebration of cultural diversity for all generations, immersing all Manchester’s people  in the city’s vibrant versatility. 


Coming all the way from South-Eastern Europe, I’ve always sought a home away from home, so I was delighted to learn that the new city I just moved to is known as the ‘UK language capital’ with more than 200 languages spoken. Undoubtedly, Manchester cradles the wonders of hundreds of cultures, reminding me of the colourful rugs knitted by our elders – each colourful thread carries a beautiful new individuality within itself. 


Here at Sundae, we strive to shine a light on pioneers and  creatives so providing the press campaign for this year’s IMLD felt nothing but natural to us. With culture  flourishing again, we focused attention on the wonderful news of this three-week long celebration (17th February – 8th March) regionally and nationally. 


As part of the celebration’s comeback, three city poets were appointed to represent and nurture the relationship between the many communities within Manchester – a city where at least 20% of people share that their mother tongue is other than English. The poets, much like the Poet Laureates, carry the civic duty to create poems for various City celebrations, combining the talents of Arabic poet and teacher Ali Al-Jamri, Chilean-Colombian queer neurodiverse poet and musician Jova Bagioli Reyes and poet, writer and performer Anjum Malik.


One of my personal highlights from the incredible and diverse programme would have to be  “Cooking With Words”, as seen on Asian Image and Manchester’s Finest, which saw City Poet Anjum Malik teaming up with chefs from local restaurant Zouk Tea Bar & Grill in order to deliver new multilingual poetry, brilliantly performed around specially-curated meals, responding to experiences of South Asian Culture. Anjum and restaurant owner Tayub spoke to BBC Radio Manchester to delve into the huge significance of exploring different cultures and learning more about local communities.


The rest of the IMLD events were also nothing short of a brilliant cultural concoction, promoting togetherness, and welcoming children and adults alike. Whether you explored Little Bridges, which saw libraries offering books in multiple languages, or you took part in the development of Manchester’s multilingual poem (which already features 70 different languages!), or if you lit your spirit up with Kathputli Utsav, the fiery festival of traditional Indian Arts, you will know that International Mother Language Day is not your typical celebration, but that’s exactly what Team Sundae loves about it! 


Evelina x


International Mother Language Day 2022
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