Prince Rupert residents who recently became new Canadians were proud to attend the Indo-Canadian Bollywood Dance presentation at the Lester Centre on April 25.
Harpinder Singh, his wife Sandeep Kaur and their son Abhinoor Gill moved to Canada from Punjab five years ago and took their oaths of citizenship on April 13, two weeks before attending the show.
The event at the Lester Centre featured a cultural dance performance from the local Indo-Canadian dance group and featured three-time Canadian Bollywood national dance champion Karima Essa.
Speaking about the show, Kaur said she holds her heritage close to her heart but is grateful for her new home in Canada.
“I am so proud to be an Indian but this is my second home now. This is a milestone in our journey,” she said about becoming a new citizen.
“Events like this are really heartwarming because when we moved here, we didn’t expect these types of events to happen in small communities like Prince Rupert. These events help celebrate my culture,” the mom said.
Singh said he appreciates the opportunity to learn new things and share things he knows.
Performances and events make him feel happy and proud to be a new citizen. He is excited about his life in Canada, he said.
“For me, these events are like my family and represent my culture. It gives me a chance to connect with a community that’s not part of our culture. People give me the chance to learn about the traditional territory of the Ts’msyen we now live on. I believe events like this help others learn about culture, language and values,” he said.
Thirteen-year-old Abhi was just eight years old when the family arrived from Punjab. He said while he had learned a bit of English in school before leaving India, he had a lot to learn when he arrived.
“It was kind of challenging at first because I didn’t know how to speak English,” said the Annunciation school student.
“Events like this are really nice because we get to represent our culture and traditions. It’s important to help us not to forget our culture,” he said.