May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada, a time for to reflect on the history of Asian-Canadian communities, and celebrate their contributions and achievements to the nation's growth and prosperity. This year, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are honoured to support the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (VAHMS) and their 25th anniversary of the explorASIAN 2021 Festival.
explorASIAN is a Metro Vancouver festival showcasing pan-Asian Canadian arts and culture. The mission of VAHMS and its festival is the ensure that Asian Heritage Month and Asian-Canadian communities, arts, and culture continue to have a voice and place in our nation's society.
The unfortunate increase in anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic has also makes the explorASIAN festival more pertinent than ever.
“explorASIAN is as relevant as ever in understanding, educating, and bringing people together to share, celebrate and enjoy each other’s cultures and beliefs," said Allan Cho, executive director of Asian Canadian Writers Workshop to VAHMS.
Knowing how important this festival is to a number of communities and individuals, explorASIAN decided to adapt to the current circumstances and produce all of its programming virtually and free for all. The month-long virtual festival has more than 50 virtual events hosted by various pan-Asian communities and organizations in Metro Vancouver, which can all be viewed in its explorASIAN Festival Program Guide online.
explorASIAN has come a long way from originally having a handful of Asian-Canadian cultural events scattered throughout the month of May, and it is all thanks to the hard work and dedication of its founders, volunteers, partners and contributors throughout the past 25 years.
“We are fostering and strengthening a sense of belonging as well as retaining pride in our Asian roots," said Jeff Chan, ambassador of VAHMS.
explorASIAN 2021 will mark the beginning of Asian Heritage Month and the festival's 25th Anniversary by hosting a Virtual Opening Ceremony at 8 p.m. on May 1. The one-hour ceremony includes performances by musician Vince Chan and South Asian dancer Sujit Vaidya.
explorASIAN Virtual Opening Ceremony performers Vince Chan and Sujit Vaidya / Photo Credits: VAHMS
Vancouver City Hall and additional civic landmarks will be illuminated red on May 1 to celebrate the start of Asian Heritage Month. BC Place, home of the 'Caps, will be illuminated red on May 2.
BC Place, home of Whitecaps FC, will be illuminated red for Asian Heritage Month on May 2 / Photo Credit: BC Place