Phil Norris spins the multicultural wheel at Discover Syria, to learn more about a different culture somewhere in the world. The wheel was split into various categories, such as holidays, religion and geography. Photos by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Sylvan Lake event sparks cultural discussions

The Sylvan Lake Municipal Library held Discover Syria over the weekend

It was a busy weekend for the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library as it once again held Discover Syria for Sylvan Lake and surrounding areas.

The event was a partnership between the library and Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE_ and the Sylvan Lake Refugee Project.

The event this year was spread out over two days, with the main events and discussions held at the library on Oct. 27 and a viewing of the movie “My name is Khan” on Oct. 28.

The movie viewing at the Sylvan Lake Landmark was a sold out event.

“We are really happy with the turn out this year,” said Sadia Khan, public awareness coordinator with CARE.

She added the event on the Saturday was a little slower than it was last year, but that didn’t put a damper on the experience.

Many people from the area had the chance to talk with refugees and immigrants from Syria about their experiences and the transition to living in Canada.

Also, the event gave attendees the chance to learn a little about the Arabic language. Volunteers began to teach those who were interested about the differences in the languages with the aide of a few books.

Attendees were also given the chance to write a few words in Arabic.

“We have a few different things to take part in this year, and people seem to really be enjoying it,” said Khan.

The event brought in a small Middle Eastern feast, provided by Addy’s Middle Eastern Cuisine in Red Deer.

Those in attendance at the two-and-a-half-hour event were given the opportunity to try hummus, baba ghanooj, yallanji and falafel.

The showing of the movie “My name is Khan” also sparked questions and discussion following the movie. A few members from CARE and volunteers were available following the movie to answer any questions, to the best of their ability.

Admission to the movie was free thanks to the Town of Sylvan Lake Recreation Arts and Culture Grant.


Kathy Inglis receives a henna tattoo during Discover Syria on Oct. 27. While receiving the temporary tattoo, Inglis also learned it significance in Syrian culture and when they are worn.

Attendees learn about the Arabic language and discuss which sounds are hard for native English speaking persons, as the sounds don’t exist in the English language. Those in attendance were also given the chance to learn to write a few words in Arabic.

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