Every year in September Mainz celebrates its many faces in the form of "Intercultural Week." It was kicked off this past weekend and we took part in the (yummy) festivities. In the morning we went to an intercultural Mass at the Mainz Cathedral. I love this Mass! It is a multi-cultural and multi-lingual celebration! Parishes from the whole dicese come and participate. Represented were the Portugese, Italian, Polish, Spanish and Croatian communities (as well as some small other parishes, unfortunately the English-speaking community isn't quite large enough to be represented, though there is a (small) english Mass once a week).
The (main) celebrant gave an interesting homily (sermon) about how there are no "foreigners" within the church, it is one community and the catherdal was there for all. I would like to see this extend beyond the Catholic Church, but it had the right idea.
In front of the cathedral on the square was a stage where dance groups could perform their traditional dances (think: Michelle K in polish school in her "costume"). There was a group doing (dancing?) square dance as well - it's a german club (group?) and they were pretty good. At least the caller (I learned that word yesterday) was good, I didn't really watch much of the dancing.
The best part of the whole day was the food! The international communities in Mainz put up stands and sell food native to their country. The best is when you see the tupperware, then you know it was homemade! We enjoyed Kurdish, Indian, Indonesian and Cameroonian dishes. The best is always the African stands, but unfortunately there was only one from Cameroon and they were only selling a dessert (but, it was gooood!). I think we liked the Indonesian one the best, but it's hard to beat satay with peanut butter sauce! The Croatians were grilling some yummy smelling stuff, but it didn't seem exotic enough to "waste" our stomach space on, and although the Turkish stands were numerous and surely delicious we have access to their food on a daily basis (it's a "normal" place to eat, comparative to eating Mexican or Italian in the US).
This is always a fun festival and I enjoy seeing the flags from other countries on the square. I still find it moving to see the Israeli flag flying along side its neighbors. We are a microcosm of different nationalities, religions and languages and we are living along side each other in peace. It is worth pointing out that this happens all over the world, but we only hear about the unrest in our evening news. We don't have World Peace, and we'll probably never experience it, but I rest easier knowing that Peace does exist and right here in my community.