Since 1992 May has been designated as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have richly contributed to America’s history and are currently a vibrant and viable part of the nation’s present and its future success.
The rather broad term, Asian-Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
Local Asian Population
According to the Ohio Department of Development, 202,066 people – 1.8 percent of Ohio’s total population were designated as Asian, representing a 26.5 percent increase in population since 2000. Of these, 125,333 were born outside the U.S. with 33 percent being of Asian Indian ancestry. The local population of those designated as Asian alone in Franklin County was 32,219 (4.2%), so states city-data.com.
The celebration of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month on a local level culminates with the 19th annual Asian Festival.
Taking place over the Memorial Day weekend, this free event offers free parking and shuttle and features cultural exhibits and demonstrations, entertainment, food, games, market place, career fair and other activities.
“We started the Asian Festival in 1995. Our mission was to showcase our Asian Heritage and Culture to the Central Ohio community. About 20,000 people attended the inaugural Asian Festival,” said Dr. Yung-Chen Lu, one of the founders of the Asian Festival.
Date: Friday, May 25, 2013
10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday, May 26, 2013
Sunday, May 27, 2013
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Location: Franklin Park, 1777 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio
Dragon Boat Race
Sunday, May 27, 2013
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The following description is taken from the Asian Festival website:
A dragon boat is a twenty foot canoe with a decorative dragon head on the front and a tail on the back. A drummer sits facing the paddlers and directs them with the beat of the drum. A steersman stands in the rear and guides the boat with a long, wooden oar. The paddlers sit two by two on ten benches. These individuals paddle the stroke in unison to fly the dragon across the water
Synchronicity is the key to racing. Dragon boat racing is as amazing to be a part of as it is to watch. Dragon boat racing is a sport for all. This fact is not true in many other sports. It is the teamwork, the synchronicity that moves the boat. Paddling together with the correct technique wins the race. It is not uncommon to watch seemingly “weaker” teams win races. It is about paddling as one and having “heart.” Dragon boating is a sprint sport. Races are typically 500m, but races will be 300m at the Dragon Boat Race Event which will take place on the Scioto River at Genoa Park.
For more information check out In-and-around-Columbus.com
Or visit the Asian Festival website:
Check out this article on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a slide show tribute.