Letter: Time starts now preparing for 150th May Day events in 2020

Editor:

With the excitement of our city’s 150th May Day celebration fast approaching, I wish to bring more attention to this rich tradition - a vital part of our Royal City, which is being held on May 20, 2020.

May Day celebrations in the park, Hyack Festival May Day Tea, the City May Day Banquet, the Anvil Battery Salute, Hyack Parade and Uptown Street Fest and the Hyack Community Heritage May Day Picnic, Heritage House Tour, and our Canada Day festival and fireworks,  just to name a few, are all important aspects of our New Westminster community. These events are carefully planned and traditionally implemented into our community to help preserve our heritage and help to instill in our children the value of respecting heritage and honouring our forbearers.

These events set us apart from surrounding cities and have been an important part of what shapes New Westminster and makes this our city of choice for all of us who live here.

Since the May Day celebration began in New Westminster, it has become an event in which many of our citizens participate, regardless of age, and many generations of families even long-time residents take pride in and look forward to preserving as an important part of their family heritage.

May Day has been a celebration of cultures throughout the years, with many hard-working organizers planning each year’s events so as to evolve, but still retain the history and tradition. The vast array of events over the years have showcased our cultural diversity and inclusiveness, and should continue to do so.

The May Day celebration has always emphasized our children. All students from New Westminster public elementary schools are included. Our New Westminster Hyack Association has been assisting School District 40 with its May Day suite of participating Grade 5 and 6 May Queens and Royal Knights. We volunteer chaperones, lead the practices, organize the schedules and assist in many other various aspects. We also host the annual May Day Tea in Queens Park following the program and dances, and just held our fifth annual May Day Heritage Picnic where Lancer dances continue, and the entire May Queen Suite (including alumni) is recognized.

We applaud the great efforts of the organizers both past and present, including the New Westminster residents who have recently formed the New Westminster May Day Community Association, and who have set up and are running the web page entitled: “Keep the May Day Tradition Alive in New Westminster.” Close to 600 members and followers are already a part of this group which are holding regular monthly meetings, organizing fundraising activities, and engaging in the community to promote and build excitement for the upcoming 150th May Day celebration.

We thank all the many generous sponsors who are such a big part of the success of all community events, such as the May Day Celebration, and encourage all residents to continue to patronize them whenever possible.

It takes an entire city to support our traditional May Day, rich in its importance to our history and community spirit, so we invite each of you to make an effort to recognize this 150th year celebration and to ensure that our children will be able to continue celebrating this valuable event for many years to come.

Lili De Capite, president, 2019 Hyack Festival Association

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