Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Folklife Festival

Example of Hungarian Woodwork
Every year right around the 4th of July the Smithsonian hosts the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall for two weeks. Each year they pick three different topics based on a nation, region, state or theme. The event is free to the public and host seminars, cooking demonstrations, music, food and other activities.  In previous years I learned how to dress a camel, make instruments from gourds, how the National Forest Service fights forest fires and how NASA made it to space.   This year focused on Hungarian heritage, endangered language and cultural heritage and the African American diversity, style and identity.   I went for the Hungarian heritage part of the festival since I’m part Hungarian.

Traditional Headdresses
While I have been to Hungary, Budapest to be specific, this festival was focused more on the traditions and cultural aspects Hungary.  I am still impressed with their woodworking skills; they use very few modern tools. They had a couple of little old women demonstrating traditional weaving and embroidery techniques as well as discussing  traditional patterns and dress. Their embroidery is impressive, which is usually of the flowers of the pepper plant used to make Paprika.   The flowers decorate everything, and the dress involves many colors mostly blacks and bold reds (which are two of my favorite colors).  

The two interesting tidbits I learned today are the Puli (the dog breed with dreads) originally hails from Hungary and Ohio has the greatest concentration of Hungarians.
Hungarian in the US


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