Punjabi Language Celebration
Every five years, Statistics Canada conducts a very comprehensive nationwide census. It provides a good snapshot of Canadians. The census is considered to be a very valuable tool not only to identify the current status of the nation but is also extremely valuable in future planning at every level. The information from the census is used widely by government agencies as well as businesses and countless other organizations throughout Canada. One of the questions in the census is determining the number of speakers of various languages in Canada.
In the 2006 census, 367,505 individuals identified Punjabi as their mother tongue. This placed Punjabi as the sixth most spoken language in the country. In order to create more awareness about the importance of Punjabi in this country, Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA Canada) will be dedicating its ninth annual International Mother Language Day (IMLD) celebration to this subject. Though the census is scheduled for mid May, PLEA will kick off its campaign on Sunday, February 20 .This year’s IMLD will be held at Hawelli Banquet Hall, 8220-120 Street in Surrey from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.
The celebration will begin with a brief overview about PLEA, its accomplishments and challenges as well as background of the IMLD and importance of Punjabi. In this context, a number of well known persons from the community will discuss the future of Punjabi language in Canada. The audience will also get an opportunity to voice their opinions and engage in an open dialogue. A team from Census Canada will provide information about the census and its importance for the South Asian community. A number of young people will present poetry and songs about Punjabi. The admission is free and no prior registration is required.
In this context, we must recognize that Punjabi has become one of the most prominent languages in the world. Out of 6,900 spoken throughout the world it is reported to rank tenth from the top. Close to 150 million Punjabi speakers are spread over 161 countries in the world. Here in Canada, it is the third most spoken language in the Metro Vancouver and Greater Toronto Area. In cities like Surrey, Abbotsford and Brampton, it is the second most spoken language after English.
It is a matter of great prides for the South Asian community that to-day it has become number one minority community in Canada numbering 1.26 million. This includes more than700, 000 Punjabi speakers. Our community, through hard work and perseverance, has achieved a prominent place in Canada.
Preserving and promoting our mother tongue is a noble objective. For more than 17 years, PLEA has been doing just that. Celebrations like these go a long way in this regard.
On behalf of PLEA, I would like to extend a very warm welcome and invitation to the community to join us for this celebration on February. 20 from 1:30 PM to 4:30PM at Howell Banquet Hall, 8220-120 Street in Surrey. For further information your readers should feel free to contact Sadhu Binning (604-437-9014) or me at 604-836-8976.
President, Punjabi Language Education Association