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April 200
3 - Nr. 4


The Editor
"Happy Easter"
"Boten des Frühlings"
Elizabeth Kuehn
Together We Sing
The Italian Girl...
Rachel Seilern
The President's Ball
Herwig Wandschneider
Siegfried & Roy
Bibi Blocksberg
Öl zuliebe
Salve Imperator
Good Citizen Award
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Germany & Easter Eggs
Oscar for "Nirgendwo..."
Goethe Medal
Age of Chivalry
Powell: Friendship
Places to Work
Fuel Cell Sub
Gunther Grass Novels
Ute Lemper Tour
Help Baghdad Museum
Celebrating Lucas Cranach
Leipzig 2012 Olympics

Precious Gems

  by Rachel A. I. Seilern

Rachel A.I. Seilern

Culture. It’s who we are. We loose a treasure when we neglect our roots and let our cultures die away. Far too many young people don’t know and as a result don’t care about the beautiful cultures their parents and grandparents left behind when they came to Canada. I find it a tragedy.

Thirty-seven years ago, a Ukrainian-Canadian couple had a brilliant idea that would help Torontonians find their roots, celebrate their own cultures, and explore the traditions of their neighbours. Festival Caravan was born, changing the face of cultural communities from that day forward. I was ten years old when I performed in Caravan at the Blue Danube pavilion, for the first time. I remember the thrill of watching the youth group dance. Some noisy girls and I from the children’s dance group, loved to sit along the stage behind the dance floor: we’d clap and cheer and squeal as the polkas got progressively more exciting! At the best of times, the big handsome boys would entrust us little kids with their watches and pocket change so that these things wouldn’t interfere with the execution of their final dare-devil dance: The Flying Polka! I can transport myself to one of those late nights now…

...The lively brass band plays, the guys’ quick steps constantly switching between light and sprightly footwork and deafening stomps. They whoop and holler and spin those pretty girls, their skirts swooshing in a torrent of green. Those girls could twirl at fantastic speeds…

Time seemed to fly just as fast. I am one of those girls now. I feel so proud to support the German-speaking community by singing the old mountain songs, dancing polkas and Strauss waltzes and playing my violin just the way our forefathers used to do. Caravan is the time when we can show Torontonians and all visitors who our forefathers were and in turn who we are!

When the week is over, there is a gratifying sense of accomplishment among all the weary musicians, singers and sore-footed dancers. You see, even the endurance aspect of being a Caravan performer only adds another memorable element to the Caravan adventure! The joy of sharing our cultural treasures along with the laughter, friendship and wonderful united spirit of Caravan makes the festival the highlight of my year!

During June, I attended the pre-Caravan functions with my cousin, Miss Danube. I had not expected the experience to be so enjoyable and memorable. I was truly impressed at the sight of so many beautiful-looking, young, talented princesses and pavilion representatives--all with a fire, a passion for their cultures. Those gatherings, so full of harmony and joy, opened my mind to bigger things---world peace. If all the nations could wipe the hatred from their eyes and embrace the spirit of Caravan, they might see the beauty and value in the ways of their neighbours. We are all different and we are all the same. Each of our cultures has a unique colour and lustre----like precious gems hand-made by God.


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