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Local Lebanese community celebrates last day of heritage month

Community members gather in front of Lebanese flag in Windsor, Ont. on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor) Community members gather in front of Lebanese flag in Windsor, Ont. on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)
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Members of the local Lebanese community in Windsor are celebrating the last day of the first official National Lebanese Heritage Month in Canada.

“It has been wonderful,” exclaimed Natasha Feghali, chair of the Windsor Essex Lebanese Community Council. “We believe in culture and heritage and we hope that this will grow going forward and to have more and more things throughout the whole month highlight local Lebanese Canadians who have done great things and take it forward now that it's official.”

Earlier this month, members of the volunteer group took part in a special flag raising ceremony outside Windsor City Hall to recognize the month, noting their mission is to provide the next generation of Lebanese people in the Windsor-Essex community a safe and strong identity of peace and friendship.

“We have a very large community,” Feghali said. “We have a lot of prominent Lebanese Canadians in Windsor-Essex who do great things across the country and globally and we hope to showcase that because of course we love our heritage and we love Canada. So when we can bridge that gap and make it a full circle, then it just becomes wonderful for everyone and for the community at large, as well as for the next generation to give them that spark to continue on the path that has been set by other trailblazers and of course, to acknowledge that we're Canadian, and it just makes for a wonderful mosaic in our community.”

Feghali said some celebrations and gatherings throughout the month were subdued or moved online due to the conflict in the Middle East, hoping more celebratory events for National Lebanese Heritage Month can take place next November, or during the upcoming National Arab Heritage month in April.

“Like everyone we wish for peace everywhere. And of course, this directly affects Lebanon because we are a direct neighbor, and we wish for peace. You know, Lebanon has had a long trajectory of war and instability and all we want is peace and to go forward and that goes globally,” she said.

“Showing positivity towards our culture, keeping our youth engaged, enriching the lives of everyone in Canada with our delicious food and music and history and dance.”

She continued, “This is definitely a pinnacle for us. It's never been done before. We do have a statue in Vancouver erected of the first Lebanese to come to Canada in the 1800s which is amazing. And so I hope that this will start a trajectory of more events, more education, more things to come within our community that we can give back to Canada, of course for welcoming us at all different times throughout our lives.”

“This is a time for us to give back as well and to share our culture and our heritage with those around us.” 

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