South Asian Heritage Month is held annually throughout May to honor, recognize, and appreciate South Asian history and culture, as well as to comprehend the rich cultural legacy of countries and South Asia. It is a month-long celebration of the existence and legacy of individuals with origins in the South Asian countries of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives. Continue reading below for more on South Asia’s fascinating past.

History of South Asian Heritage Month

South Asian Heritage Month was established to honor, mark, and appreciate South Asian history and culture, as well as to better comprehend the various heritage of countries and South Asia. Comprised of eight countries, South Asia is made up of, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The goal of South Asian Heritage Month is to help South Asians regain their heritage and sense of self. Everyone has the right to share their tales, and this is an opportunity to demonstrate what it means to be South Asian in the 21st century while simultaneously looking back in time for clues about how their beloved country became the diverse country it is now.

It is possible to see influences from South Asia in almost every aspect of modern life — from food and clothing to entertainment and even vocabulary. The colors, sights, and sounds of a proud South Asian identity abound on the streets of many towns and cities, as well as countries, creating a visual feast for the eyes and ears. Its culture permeates all aspects of life and contributes to the country’s cultural richness. South Asian Heritage Month strives to improve these aspects of how people engage with South Asian cultures and identities, education, awareness, and participation. Arts, culture, and legacy are celebrated throughout the month as well as the commemoration of historical events and anniversaries.

South Asian Heritage Month timeline

1990s
Celebrations in Canada

South Asian Heritage Month is observed in various parts of Canada.

1997
The Indo-Trinidadian Canadian Association

The Indo-Trinidadian Canadian Association (I.T.C.A.), which is established in April, quickly begins to organize Indian Arrival Day events.

1998
Indian Arrival and Heritage Day

When the I.T.C.A. decides to celebrate Indian Arrival and Heritage Day, they put on a spectacular spectacle, display, and dance to commemorate the occasion.

2019
The United Kingdom Celebrates

The House of Commons launches South Asian Heritage Month.

South Asian Heritage Month FAQs

Who are the people categorized as South Asian?

Asia’s southernmost region — comprising the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the Indian subcontinent — is referred to as South Asia. This region encompasses the countries of Bangladesh and Bhutan as well as the countries of India and Pakistan. Afghanistan and the Maldives are also frequently considered to be part of South Asia.

Who started South Asian Heritage Month?

The Co-Founders of South Asian Heritage Month are Jasvir Singh O.B.E. and Dr. Binita Kane, and the Founding Patron is Anita Rani.

What is it that South Asia is famous for?

South Asia is the site of one of the world’s earliest known civilizations — the Indus civilization — and is currently one of the world’s most densely inhabited regions, with a population of over a billion people.

How to Observe South Asian Heritage Month

  1. Recognize the contributions

    South Asians have made significant contributions to the country they live in — from sports to the arts to academia. Recognize the tremendous contributions they have made to your country by doing some research.

  2. Research the history

    Do some research on the rich and beautiful sub-region. Researching their history can help develop a greater understanding and awareness of the issues they faced, how they overcame and how that can help chart a path for the future.

  3. Celebrate the art, culture, and heritage

    South Asia has a very rich culture and heritage. Their art is also very diverse and beautiful to see. Make it a date to celebrate by visiting a gallery that showcases their art, eating their food, and watching movies from the region.

5 Interesting Facts About South Asia

  1. It’s referred to as the ‘Indian Subcontinent’

    The term ‘Indian subcontinent’ is frequently used interchangeably with ‘South Asia,’ however, the other term is commonly used more abstractly to refer to Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.

  2. Unifying cultural and ethical worldview

    Despite a history of ethnic, linguistic, and political fragmentation, the people of the subregion have a common cultural and ethical worldview — a wealth of ancient textual literature in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and regional languages act as a main uniting force.

  3. Similar culture and literary Ideas

    Although South Asia has been divided into a kaleidoscope array of political patterns over the centuries, music and dance, ritual rituals, styles of worship, and literary ideas are all quite similar throughout the region.

  4. Religion

    Numerous religions are practiced, including Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism, to name a few as South Asia is the birthplace of all four of these religions.

  5. Ethnically Diverse

    The population of South Asia is made up of people from a diverse range of ethnic groups and civilizations — this diversity can be attributed to the city's location as a crossroads for land and maritime routes.

Why South Asian Heritage Month is Important

  1. Learn the history

    Throughout the month, people all across the world recognize the significant achievements of South Asians in various fields. You can’t talk about success without tracing a timeline and therefore their history.

  2. It recognizes the richness of culture

    As a result of these cultural celebrations, we get the opportunity to appreciate the nuances and diversity of each cultural identity. Understanding and appreciating these stories in the context of the national story is crucial.

  3. It permits us to appreciate and respect diverse cultures

    This month allows us to appreciate and respect the various cultures found in diverse societies, allowing us to embrace unity and raise awareness. The term ‘Asian’ is used as a broad umbrella to define a vast range of religions and cultures, which is fascinating, and this month allows us to explore the contrasts while still honoring the distinctions.

South Asian Heritage Month dates

YearDateDay
2022May 1Sunday
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday
2026May 1Friday
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