This essay will discuss some of the changes brought to Britain by immigration and new religious teachings. It will briefly analyse some of the benefits and how these still contribute to our society by improving this country. Furthermore, it will show that immigration has led to religious diversity making us a multicultural society.
Britain nowadays is an extremely diverse country. There are people of different nationalities and religions all around us and we have learnt to adjust to their own ways and beliefs. With immigration we have embraced new changes: fashion, food, music and festivals. New religions have taught us to be a more tolerant society and become more accepting of other faiths. Some fashion is influenced through migrants, for instance the Hindu sari’s colours and style have helped shape the evening backless gowns. The burka however, still creates great controversy. Although there is a merging of fashion similarly fashion can also separate. It would seem people are judged by their sense of dress, whether they dress for cultural or religious reasons. Today there are even magazines in the media to help expand our knowledge of Islam. Most notably, the Emel is a British lifestyle magazine that reports on contemporary British Muslim culture. Launched in 2003, it was previously only available in Muslim bookshops.
It has since become the most widely read British Muslim magazine in Britain and now attracts interest from non-Muslim readers too. As well as covering fashion it also informs on other aspects of life such as consumerism and politics, health and education. The whole aim of the magazine is to explain the positives aspects of Islam to non-Muslims and reduce fear and tension. (Emel, 20/05/2013) Another example of change in the fashion is that Indian people have brought with them their knowledge of threading, a method of facial hair removal, which is currently very popular amongst both women and men. One particularly striking aspect that affected Britain tremendously is new food. Immigration and religion have enriched Britain’s diet. These days there is a large variety of restaurants presenting foreign cuisines. We can have our pick of Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Italian, Spanish, Mexican and many others to suit our tastes. Amazingly, there are even some restaurants that offer a mix of cultural gastronomy allowing us the luxury of selection and variation on the same plate. For some people these days, the Indian dish, the curry especially, is a favourite meal and most popular in Britain. In particularly, some people also choose to adapt a Mediterranean diet for health reasons.
The food we consume is also determined by our religious beliefs. In Christianity, fish is eaten on Good Friday as a way of celebrating Jesus whereas in Islam and Hinduism, pork is out of the menu as the pig is seen as a dirty animal. Also in Hinduism, beef is not consumed as Hindus believe the cow is holy. British popular music also shows many influences from immigration. Immigrants have brought new musical sounds like reggae, ska and calypso. Black music, most notably RnB has had a lasting impact on British popular culture. Pop music is another indicator of the multicultural nature of Britain today. In most UK towns and cities it is possible for worshippers of Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam and many other religions to find somewhere to celebrate their faith in a community safely with others. The most known religious festivals in Britain are Christmas and Easter as part of Christianity. Eid is the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar.
In the same way Christians celebrate Jesus at Christmas, Muslims celebrate Raham at Eid. Both events are about sharing, music, party and simply good fun. In Hinduism, Diwali is perhaps the most well-known Hindu festival. It is known as the ‘festival of lights’ and this five day festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The Notting Hill Carnival in London is the largest street festival in Europe. It originated in 1964 as a way for Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. It celebrates the abolition of slavery and freedom. It takes place every August Bank Holiday weekend and since festivals invite participation, every year people get together to enjoy this amazing, lively event and savour the Caribbean food on offer.
On the whole, it is obvious immigration has brought significant benefits to Britain. Immigrants have enriched our society by working hard and creating jobs. They have offered us all the beneficial changes previously mentioned and we could no longer live without them. As a result, Britain is now a far stronger society. Immigration has educated us to be more aware the ‘other’ making us open, tolerant, diverse and welcoming and this is something Britain should be proud of.
Emel, http://www.emel.com/, (2O/05/2013)
BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/religion/islam/eid_haj.shtml, (20/05/2013) BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/religion/hinduism/diwali.shtml, (20/05/2013) http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2013/03/25/david-cameron-immigration-speech-in-fullpolitics.co.uk, (20/05/2013)