Let’s celebrate Portuguese history and achievements
Portugal National Day: June 10th
By Cidalia Pereira, VAW Counselling Team Lead at Abrigo Centre
Portugal Day is celebrated on June 10th of every year around the world. It is officially the Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities ou o Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas.
This special occasion is celebrated by Portuguese speakers globally and commemorates the death of Luis de Camoes, on June 10, 1580, a poet and national literary icon having authored Os Lusiadas, celebrating Portuguese history and achievements.
The Portuguese language is not only one of the most pervasive languages in the world, with more than 265 million speakers spread through all continents, but it is also the most widely spoken language in the southern hemisphere. For example, it is spoken in the Azores, Madeira, mainland Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Cabo Verde, Macau, S. Tome e Principe, Guine-Bissau, Timor Leste and Brazil.
Fernando Pessoa said it best in his book Dessassossegado “a minha pátria é a língua portuguesa”, or “My homeland is the Portuguese language.”
For the second year in a row here in Toronto, celebrations during the pandemic have taken on a different tone. We will not gather to have our glorious parade down College Street, have a “festa” or hold a concert to observe our heritage. Yes, celebrations have gone virtual, but it’s clearly not the same.
June is also the month of celebrations and festivities for the popular saints throughout the country on the nights of of St. Anthony, St. John and St. Peter. These saints are all known for their devotion and their service to others. Normally we celebrate with processions, colourful costumes, music and dancing, the smell of basil or “manjarico” and continue these traditions to this day around the world, with the hope that younger generations will continue down the same path.
All of us at Abrigo want to recognize and celebrate the achievements of all Lusophones around the world.
In addition, both local Toronto school boards, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) are planning virtual events to commemorate June 10th.
For more information, please visit the website at TCDSB Portuguese Speaking Canadian Heritage Month – JUNE 10 CONFERENCE (google.com).
This year, the Portuguese-Speaking Advisory Committee (PAC) of the TCDSB, which I am a part of, is once again assisting in putting together a program, which includes a short video, a website brimming with information, a Townhall for parents on June 8 and on June 10, a variety of workshops to engage and highlight the accomplishments of local Portuguese speakers.
In 2011 the TCDSB gathered together members of various ethnic communities to discuss academic achievements for students in these community and the event was called Partners in Motion. In 2013, the PAC was established among other advisory committees, to advocate for the academic success of students with a Portuguese-speaking background. These activities include consulting and engaging with the larger Portuguese-speaking communities regarding student achievement, to propose recommendations for programs and services and provide advocacy on their behalf.
To this end, various activities have been implemented including outreaching to schools, parents and community, holding parent workshops, advocating for resources and improved culturally sensitive pedagogy that teachers can use that reflects the student population. This wonderful committee continues their efforts with the school board and looks to you for your support and input.
Portuguese-Speaking Advisory Committee (PAC)
For more information on the work of the committee or information on how to join the committee, please contact: Cidalia Pereira, Abrigo Centre, 416-534-3434 ext 231, or the Portuguese Advisory Committee at: https://sites.google.com/tcdsb.ca/tcdsbportugueseheritagege/home
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