May is Asian Heritage Month

May is Asian Heritage Month. Canada designated May as Asian Heritage Month in 2002, although it was unofficially celebrated as such since the 1990s.

Asian Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of people from more than 30 counties as well as those from the Asian diaspora in other parts of the world.

Asian heritage and culture is very diverse, within each region of Asia, as well as within each country. Asian regions include: 

  • East Asia (China, Hong Kong S.A.R., Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan)
  • Southeast Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam)
  • South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka)
  • Central Asia (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan)
  • Western Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen). 

In addition to these regions, people of Asian descent can be found in all corners of the world and often make up large populations in countries outside of Asia due to emigration, colonialism, trade and labour migrations, and more. Countries like Fiji (in Oceania), Trinidad (in the Caribbean), and Mauritius (off the coast of Africa) have large populations of Asian and South Asian people who were part of a diaspora. 

Canadians of Asian ancestry make up more than 17 per cent the Canadian population and have been making important contributions to Canadian heritage and identity since the late 1700s. Visit this link to read about events in Asian Canadian history.

Happy Asian Heritage Month!