Celebrating East and South East Asian Heritage Month 2023
This September is East and South East Asian Heritage Month, a month-long celebration and acknowledgement of the heritage, culture, history and lives of those from East and Southeast Asia.
It’s a chance to shine a spotlight and learn more about the different communities who help to shape our society, with all sorts of in-person and virtual events taking place across the UK.
In this guide we’ll be discussing how you can celebrate East and South East Asian Heritage Month, why it’s important as well as the background of this event.
Carry on reading to find out!
What Is East and South East Asian Heritage Month?
East and South East Asian Heritage Month is a month-long celebration dedicated to honouring and appreciating the rich cultures, histories and contributions of the diverse communities which make up this region.
It was first launched in September 2021, by Besea.n (Britain’s East and South East Asian Network), a volunteer-led group which strives to bring positive representation for those from East and South East Asian backgrounds.
In 2021, over 70 events were hosted which reached almost 10,000 people, and now two years on, East and South East Asian Heritage Month is reaching more and more people.
There are many different countries which make up East and South East Asia, which we’ve listed below:
- Hong Kong
- North Korea
- South Korea
Why Is East and South East Asian Heritage Month Important?
East and South East Asian Heritage Month is an annual event held in September each year, which highlights the diversity and achievements of the East and South Asian communities.
These communities are made up of a wide array of cultures, languages, traditions and histories which help to shape the world we live in today.
This month-long event is crucial to help fight against the stereotypes and prejudices that these communities often face, such as racial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.
Through education and awareness, we can help to overcome misconceptions and promote a more inclusive society for all!
How To Celebrate East and South East Asian Heritage Month
The theme for East and South East Asian Heritage Month 2023 is “Roots/Routes,” which focuses on the exploration of cultural identity and belonging.
There are a variety of different ways to get involved with this annual event, and to help you gain some inspiration, we’ve listed a few ideas below!
1. Educate Yourself
If you want to celebrate East and South East Asian Heritage Month, we’d highly suggest taking the time to learn about the diverse cultures that fall under the region.
Whether it’s reading books, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, attending talks, or engaging with online resources, there’s plenty of ways you can gain a deeper understanding.
You could even broaden your knowledge about the richness of ESEA culture by starting conversations with students who are from the region at your university!
Learning from personal experiences and stories can really help to further your understanding of different cultures within East and SouthEast Asia.
2. Attend Cultural Events
This September, look out for any local events, campus events, workshops or performances that are taking place to celebrate East and South East Asian cultures.
These events could feature traditional music, dances, art exhibitions or even culinary experiences, so it’s worth checking the official events calendar to find out what’s on.
If you can’t find any events taking place, you could set up your own event at your university or within your student accommodation to get together with students from diverse backgrounds!
For those living in our HFS properties, you can make the most of our residents app KLIQ to set up your own events.
3. Cook Traditional Dishes
A fun and delicious way to celebrate this September is by delving into the flavours of East and South East Asia, by cooking traditional dishes from various countries.
You and your flatmates could get together and try your hand at cooking different cuisine, whether it’s sushi from Japan, pho from Vietnam, kimchi from Korea or dim sum from China.
If you’re an international student in the UK, you could even do a recipe share with others with traditional dishes that reflect your culture and heritage!
Another way you can connect with the culture is by exploring local Asian-owned businesses, markets, and restaurants within your uni city or town.
Not only is this a great way to try something new, but it also helps to ensure that the money you are spending gets reinvested in these communities.
4. Start Learning A New Language
With over 2,000 Asian languages and more than 4 billion speakers worldwide, why not start learning a new language this September?
This is a great way to pay respect to East and South East Asian cultures, whilst also developing a useful skill at the same time.
This new skill could even give you a competitive edge in the future when it comes to jobs and will look great on your CV.
There are plenty of free resources out there you can utilise to learn an Asian language, such as the Duolingo app.
You could even join a free language course at your university alongside your degree course, although the different languages offered will vary from each institution.
5. Spread The Word
For those from a East or South East Asian background, a great way to help raise awareness is by using your social media platform to share interesting stories, facts and cultural insights.
If you don’t come from a ESEA background, you can still help to get more people involved with this annual event, as after all, it’s still not ‘officially’ recognised by the UK government, despite being so important.
So, help to spread the word with your friends and family to get more people involved, whether it’s using #SouthAsianHeritageMonth on social media, or through word of mouth.
This way we can all celebrate and honour those from ESEA heritage and their culture!
By celebrating the vibrant and diverse cultures and traditions of East and South East Asian communities, we can help to create a more inclusive society and spread awareness!
We hope that this guide has been useful for how to celebrate this nationwide event, and don’t forget to tag us in your photos @_homesforstudents.