Article by Steve Williams Coventry Telegraph
Crowds of schoolchildren and residents came together to celebrate the history of the city’s most famous benefactor.
Dame Goodyver Day event at Coventry Cathedral Ruins.
Coventry schoolchildren and residents came together yesterday to celebrate the history of the city’s most famous benefactor, Lady Godiva .
The highlight of the ‘ Dame Goodyver’s Day ’ celebrations was a dramatic procession which set out from Coventry Cathedral through the city centre, featuring large banners and live drums and 18 ‘Godiva Sisters’ of different faiths and races, wearing traditional dress.
Crowds were also wowed by multi-cultural dances and songs as they congregated by the Lady Godiva statue in Broadgate to watch the spectacle. The event was attended by members of the public, local schoolchildren and dignitaries including the Lord Mayor.
Dame Goodyver’s Day was organised by Coventry’s modern-day ‘ Lady Godiva ’ and city ambassador, Pru Poretta, in collaboration with Heritage Open Days.
Pru resurrected the Dame Goodyver’s Day tradition in 1999 – more than 500 years after it was first celebrated on the day of Lady Godiva’s death in 1067.
By Elizabeth Guanwei Shang
National culture plays a fundamental role in sustaining the stabilization of society and social development. Respecting the diversity of national culture is regarded as a pre-condition for the prosperity of the world’s cultures. Culturae Mundi is the bridge to facilitate the flow of cultures among countries all over the world helping to bridge the communication gap between people from different cultural backgrounds. The orientation meeting of Culturae Mundi held in Coventry College in September 8, 2014 was meant for new students to understand the diversity of cultures and different countries under Culturae Mundi.
Hillary Chindodo, event manager of Culturae Mundi, said ‘Mundi is an organization launched at Coventry University, with the goal to bring cultures of the world together through events, music, dance, food and traditional celebrations. In order to improve the understanding of the cultures among the different countries and communication with each other, we always held a wide variety of activities. For example, last year we celebrated the Chinese New Year Festival, and this Friday we were busy at the Godiva Festival held at the city centre. The orientation meeting of Culturae Mundi comprised of two sections, one of them provided a short introduction and background information, history and future development of Culturae Mundi, and another section invited new students to make applications for volunteering. Almost 150 new students in Coventry College filled in the application form and were willing to get further information about incoming cultural events or activities.
Paul Bell, a biology science student of Coventry College said, “I lived in many countries and could speak five languages. The unique cultural identity of each country provided a new angle to understand the world and solve its problems. It helped me to accumulate enriching experiences in study and life and paved the path for future successes. I am overly interested in different cultures. Culturae Mundi presented a great opportunity for us to connect with people from diverse cultures. The orientation meeting of Culturae Mundi culminated in a lesson about Chinese characters. The Chinese members in Culturae Mundi instructed students to write their names using Chinese Characters. A lot of students expressed their love for Chinese Characters and picked up one or two Characters to copy. Bex Pardo, an engineering student of Coventry Collage, said “I was interested in Chinese culture, I like Chinese Kung fu and Li Xiao Long is my flavor movie star. I have gone to Shang Hai, and Hang Zhou last year. In the future I would spend more time to understand Chinese culture”. It’s a maze of cultural connections intensely bringing people together at Coventry university under the tutelage of an organization that is all about global cultures.
THE LADY GODIVA DAY PICTORIAL – CULTURAE MUNDI
Join the celebration on Friday 12th September 2014 www.heritageopendays.org.uk
● “Dame Goodyver’s Daye” is an annual feast celebrating the heritage of Coventry’s Lady Godiva. On Friday 12th September beginning at 11.00 am in Coventry Cathedral Ruins.Coventry’s present-day Lady Godiva, Pru Porretta, will welcome 18 wonderful Godiva Sisters from different parts of the world, each with their own different culture and faith.
● Traditional costume from around the world,live music,Chinese,African,Irish and contemporary dances performed by the Sisters, local schools and communities.18 Greetings from each Sister using languages from their own countries.
● A dramatic procession with live drumming and 18 huge banners (2 metres high) will move from the Ruins to arrive at the statue of Lady Godiva in Broadgate just before 12.00 noon. The chorus of a special Godiva song “Lady on the Horse” has been written and will be sung by hundreds of children,also a special dance by Lady Godiva and her Grandaughter to “One Big Family”all are invited to join in. The Sisters bring baskets of food from their own cultures to be blessed and given for everyone to share.
● This celebration is unique to Coventry, reflecting our ancient past and joining the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-faith family living here today celebrating Peace and Reconciliation. Many special guests,dignitaries,local schools and communities will take part. The event is free.
“2014 is a landmark year for Heritage Open Days,” says Loyd Grossman, Patron of Heritage Open Days. “Over the last two decades we’ve enabled millions of people to visit thousands of places that are normally closed to the public, helping to put local heritage at the forefront of community life throughout England. This summer we’re looking forward to our most spectacular festival ever – a unique national celebration that brings our hidden history to life.”
Notes to Editors:
● Lady Godiva was the most famous benefactor in the history of Coventry. Over 500 years ago the original celebration of Dame Goodyver’s Daye was celebrated by the Cappers and Felt-makers on the day of her death – 10 September 1067. Pru Porretta re-introduced the feast day 15 years ago. It started in a small way until in 2002 five multi-cultural Sisters became part of the celebration and the Godiva Sisters family was formed. This has now grown to 18 Sisters each with their own story to share. Today we celebrate with the Lord Mayor of Coventry, civic and community leaders, students from Coventry University, local schools and families.
● The 18 Godiva Sisters in 2014:
Irish Sister: Angela Hart from Coventry Irish Society
Caribbean Sister: Gloria Donaldson as Mother Mary Seacole
Christian Sister: Kusumika Chatterjee as Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Chinese Sister: Margaret Tse as Hua Mulan
Japanese Sister: Takako Higuchi as Sadako Sasaki
Sikh Sister: Jaspreet Singh as Maharani Jindan Kaur
Hindu Sister: Seema Shah as Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi
Serbian Sister: Slavica Stojsavljevic as Princess Milica
Sister for Disability: Bhanu Dahbi as Annie Sullivan
African Sister: Consolata Zvirikuzhe as Nzingha, Queen of Matamba
Latin-American Sister: Adriana Atkinson as Policarpa Salavarrieta
Muslim Sister: Saira Khan as Muslim Sister
Polish Sister: Magdalena Stradomska as Queen Jadwiga of Poland
Refugee/Asylum Sister: Anastasia Chokuwamba of Coventry Refugee Centre
Malaysian Sister: Raja Rahawani as Princess Puteri Saadong
Halleluyah Sister: Sylvia Davoll as Eliza Shirley
Brahma Kumaris Sister: Cherry Steinberg
Wisdom Sister Representative from Elders
● Pru Porretta asked each community to choose a hero, who would embody and represent that community in a wider context. A working-group was set up to design and create, with guidance from a textile artist, a banner depicting that hero and her story using the tradition and style of that community. One member of each group was chosen to act the character of the hero, but more importantly to become a Godiva Sister and to be an “animateur” among her community, someone who gives of themselves to those less fortunate, someone who makes a difference and builds a legacy of inspiration for the future.
● Heritage Open Days is England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, taking place across 50 countries. Other events in the UK are Doors Open Days in Scotland (www.doorsopendays.org.uk); Open Doors Days in Wales (http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/opendoors/?lang=en); European Heritage Days in Northern Ireland (www.ehsni.gov.uk); Open House London (www.open-city.org.uk).
● Heritage Open Days is run locally by a large range of organisations (including civic societies, heritage organisations, and local councils), community champions and thousands of volunteers.
● On a national level, Heritage Open Days is co-ordinated and promoted by the Heritage Open Days National Partnership with funding by English Heritage. The Partnership brings together Europe’s largest conservation and heritage charity in the form of the National Trust (www.nationaltrust.org.uk), the most extensive network of local community based heritage organisations through Civic Voice (www.civicvoice.org.uk) and expertise from the leading coalition of national voluntary heritage organisations in The Heritage Alliance (www.theheritagealliance.org.uk).