The weather couldn’t be more ideal on Thursday, June 1st, when P.S. 276 Louis Marshall School, at 1070 East 83rd Street, held its annual Multicultural Day Celebration. Staff, students and parents, representing countries near and far, gathered in the schoolyard for a day of fun, sun and feasting.
Children adorned in frilly frocks entertained the gathering with native songs and dances. Italian tarantella, Cha-Cha, Mexican Hat Dance, Salsa, Haitian and Irish dances were among those performed. Of course, the P. S. 276 Steppers also did their thing.
The food was out of this world! Jerk chicken galore from Jamaica, soup joumou from Haiti and coconut bread from Barbados were a mere smidgen of what was offered. All free! And for the kids who preferred their good old American French fries, there was an abundance of that waiting for them after their performances.
There was a variety of homemade brews – sorrel, mauby, mint tea – you name it! Anyone with a sweet tooth only had to stop by the Moldavian (part of the former Soviet Union) booth and sample an assortment of chocolates and other confections or grab a bag of shredded coconut cakes from St. Lucia.
But the event wasn’t just about “eat, drink and be merry.” Most countries displayed pamphlets with “fun facts” about them. For instance, Barbados named a street after internationally known singer/actress Rihanna who was born and raised there. In Israel, pilgrims flock annually to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, its capital and largest city, to pray and leave notes.
The event culminated with a garden tour led by two 5th-graders, Tyler and Evelyn. They identified various plants and explained their functions and overall impact on the environment. For example, The Three Sisters – corn, beans and squash – rely on each other. Tyler told the group, “Corn is like the big sister helping the bean up.” Evelyn further explained that “beans provide nutrients to the soil, and the leaves of the squash provide shade and moisture.”