LEWISTON — The Multi-Purpose Center on Birch Street welcomes the sixth
annual Somali Independence Day Festival to Lewiston at 7 p.m. this
Saturday.
The annual celebration offers food, music and dance to commemorate July
1, 1960, the day the country became the Republic of Somalia and gained
independence from Britain and Italy.
Said Mohamud, founder and president of the African Immigrants
Association, said he hoped the event would bring together Somalis,
Americans and their friends from different cultures to promote
diversity. “It’s a better way for Somalis to intermingle with
Americans; we hope to support Somali integration to the community
without letting go of our language, identity and culture,” he said.
According to Mohamud, the festivities will promote and celebrate the
Somali population in Lewiston and the 15,000 African immigrants
residing in central and southern Maine.
Cultural music will be played as national African folk dancers and
members of the community perform throughout the celebration. Food is
also an essential ingredient to this year’s festivities, with sweets
provided to children, and somosas — a cultural recipe consisting of
potatoes, beans, lean beef, herbs and vegetables — served to adult
guests.
Although Mohamud hopes the event will promote community integration, he
also hopes it will serve as a reminder to Somalis of the importance of
balancing integration with the preservation of Somali culture.“Somalia,
unlike other countries in Africa, is very homogeneous. We have one
common language, religion and culture. It’s something we’re very proud
of.”
An advantage to holding the Somali Independence Day celebration in the
United States is that, “we’re celebrating in a democratic country where
women can celebrate and participate,” Mohamud said. He added that
because many immigrants are single mothers with children, once a year
this event allows them the opportunity to get together and be present
in the community.
The Somali Independence Day celebration is sponsored by the city of
Lewiston and the African Immigrants Association. Admission is free and
the event is open to the public. Doors will open at 6 p.m., with events
scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
For more information, contact Nasra Sulub at 577-7210, Omar Abdi at 786-0376 or Said Mohamud at 786-8754.

What: Sixth annual Somali Independence Day Festival

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, June 27

Where: Multi-Purpose Center, Birch Street, Lewiston


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