Celebrating Diverse Cultures in Inverclyde

The annual celebration of Refugee Festival Scotland came to Greenock in Inverclyde on Friday 21 June.

A Celebration of Diverse Cultures in Inverclyde was organised by Your Voice Inverclyde and Lyle Gateway. Digital Content Volunteer and Refugee Festival Scotland Ambassador, Elina Badovska, reports from the event.

The theme of the 2024 festival – “Rise”. Rising up from refugees to members of major New Scots diaspora, everyone was glad to present their own culture by enjoying the traditional sounds, crafts and flavours of their homeland.

Long queues to national food and craft stalls led to the scene of the event where sounds and dances of all communities were shown. One of the most unique shows was the waulking group singing traditional songs in Scottish Gaelic. Waulking, an age-old method of working with tweed was explained by Sgioba Luaidh, – a women’s group specialising in Gaelic work songs. You can get yourself familiarized with the  traditional Scottish process here.

Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) is getting popular in this area of Scotland even among refugees who believe that by keeping the language alive they could firmly be identified as New Scots.  Inverclyde Council runs beginner Gaelic classes for everyone at no charge. Gaelic teachers and students of the group came to the event to support learners.

Refugee Festival Scotland Ambassadors Elina Badovska and Seyar Qaderi presented newcomers with their cultures. More than 300 visitors had a chance to try local food, wear traditional costumes and share emotions sitting around the international table. It was a pleasure to see local activists who organised markets and gave refugees a platform to showcase their talents in the area. 

All visitors could watch an audio-visual short story experience about the life of New Scots in the Inverclyde. Each story is based on a real situation, most of them showcasing war-related episodes of narrators.

The success of this event in Greenock helps demonstrate the hopes of New Scots in the area to establish their businesses and become assets to Scotland.

The Lyle Kirlk church opened its gates to greet diversity and announce a multicultural cafe to be opened.

All participants are getting ready for next year’s festival and hope to see far more visitors exchanging cultures in 2025.