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BHESA celebrates Bangladesh culture

Bangladeshi-Canadians who live in the Edmonton area are connected through a number of local cultural organizations, one of which is BHESA, the Bangladesh Heritage and Ethnic Society of Alberta. In this article we want to introduce this organization and its people to a broader audience.

Who is BHESA?

Canada’s multicultural society is a great example of how people with different ethnic identity, cultural background, believe, and language foster friendship and understanding while building a diverse and vibrant community.

The Bangladesh Heritage and Ethnic Society of Alberta (BHESA) is a socio-cultural, non-political, non-sectarian, and non-profit organization that serves the local community of Bangladeshi-Canadians comprising of immigrants and descendants, and those people who are interested in the culture, arts, and people of Bangladesh.

Operating in Edmonton, Alberta, and vicinity area BHESA preserves, promotes and celebrates Bangladesh culture, heritage and history with a variety of programs, projects, and services.

President Delwar Jahid handing out Certificates of Participation to Community Members, who participated in a Sports Event

President Delwar Jahid handing out Certificates of Participation to Community Members, who participated in a Sports Event

As an example BHESA is providing social and cultural interaction throughout the year by initiating events like Ekushey (International Mother Language Day), Shadhinota Dibosh (Independence Day), Pohela Boishakh (Bengali New Year), Iftar Party (Food Festival), Eid Reunion (Festival), Durga Puja Reunion (Festival), Bijoy Dibosh (Victory Day), Children Festival, and the celebration of important Canadian and international commemoration days. Such celebrations allows BHESA to introduce the Bangladesh culture and heritage to a broader community and their children.

Members of the Community enjoying Bangladeshi Foods during BHESA's Children Festival

Members of the Community enjoying Bangladeshi Foods during BHESA's Children Festival

BHESA’s magazine Edmonton Bichitra, the magazine of the Bengali community, is providing an additional voice for its people. Other projects are dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the cultural heritage, be it Bangla language, arts, music, film, dance, buildings, peoples' customs, history, or other important heritage.

A little History...

BHESA was founded and incorporated in April 2009 under the name »Bangladesh Cultural Association of Edmonton« by Siddique Hussain, Muhammad N. Islam, Shafiqur Rahman, Shahid Hassan, and Tajul Ali. Already in 2010 BHESA reached a size of about 150 members.

BCAE's Bengali New Year Celebration in 2011

BCAE's Bengali New Year Celebration in 2011

BHESA’s objectives beside providing member services and building a scoial, cultural, sports, and educational program were defined by

· the promotion and preservation of the history, culture and heritage of Bangladesh,
· the promotion of the Bangla language and its heritage to the next generations of Bangladeshi-Canadians,
· the promotion of multiculturalism and by fostering understanding and friendship with other cultural organizations.

On December 5, 2012 the organization changed its name from »Bangladesh Cultural Association of Edmonton« to »Bangladesh Heritage and Ethnic Society of Alberta« (BHESA).

Publications

BHESA is issuing a yearly magazine called Edmonton Bichitra to its community members. The magazine is introducing the work of the organization, its people, and the culture and heritage of Bangladesh.

Awards

In 2014 the Bangladesh Heritage and Ethnic Society of Alberta (BHESA) introduced the Ekushey Heritage Award as a means of appreciation for people who stand out exceptionally with great achievements in helping the local community in Edmonton and vicinity area. Later in 2015 the scope of the awards has been opened to cover the Province of Alberta.

BHESA's Ekushey Heritage Award

BHESA's Ekushey Heritage Award

Once a year BHESA is recognizing the achievements of people and organizations who stand out to be a great help or asset for the local community by awarding a medal of honor for their contributions. The award may be given out multiple times and considered is the work in the different fields education, social work, and community services here in Alberta.

The awards are open to all Albertans, and the candidates are selected through an executive meeting held at BHESA. Considered are the activities and contributions of the candidates over a time period of the entire year. The names of the nominees are officially announced annually prior to International Mother Language Day on February 21st, and the awards are handed out during the following public program of BHESA.

More Information

If you are interested to learn more about this organization, we encourage you to visit their website at www.bhesa.ca.