Photos show Cambridge celebrations for East and South East Asian Heritage month

“I think the Queen would be very happy because all the event was about inclusion and getting kids to respect each other”.

Cambridge’s East-Asian and South-East Asian community met in Eddington, Cambridge, to celebrate their heritage in a series of activities and performances. Melissa Lee, CEO of UK Education, called the turnout “amazing”.

The event was hosted at the Storey’s Field Community Centre in Eddington, North-West Cambridge, on October 9. It featured stalls, workshops and activities celebrating everything East-Asian and South-East Asian.

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Melissa, explaining the motivation behind hosting the event said: “We are three working mothers, Anna and Michelle, we thought we wanted to bring some Asian culture to our own kids and to the community”.

Melissa and her fellow organisers had initially earmarked September 25 for the event, but because of the Queen’s funeral they decided to postpone it to October, “We were worried that British people would see it as disrespectful”, Melissa said.

More than 500 people attended the Eddington event, with over 100 signed up to the waiting list. Unfortunately, the hall in Eddington was only big enough for 270 people, “It turned out being even better organised in the end! Next year hopefully we’ll hire a bigger venue, and ask more Asian businesses to join us”.

Melissa added: “I think the Queen would be very happy because all the event was about inclusion and getting kids to respect each other.

“I wanted to say thank you to Jenny Wood the Deputy mayor and all of the volunteers, I think it’s the biggest event we ever organised. We were very proud of the teamwork”.

The last gathering for East-Asian heritage month was back in 2021, but the event was much smaller. This year, a sumptuous selection of East-Asian inspired sweet and savoury food welcomed guests, from a plethora of local vendors in Cambridge.

There was also traditional Taiwanese and Chinese music, and the Japanese Tsugaru-Shamisen, as well as dance and poetry performance from the Cambridge Chinese Academy.

Families were also entertained by Tai chi and Shotokan karate demonstrations, along with East Asian painting, a Children’s Mandarin lesson, stalls from Eco-Japan, 3D printing, and a children’s book corner. A raffle gifted free food, children’s books, archery lessons, paintings, mandarin lessons and shopping vouchers to lucky ticket holders.

The last census put the total of East-Asians and South East Asians at over a million in the UK – that’s around 1.5% of the entire UK population, and in Cambridge this number is only growing, with some calling Cambridge “The Chinese Capital of the UK”.

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