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Smithsonian Folklife Festival to focus on ‘Armenia’s exuberant hospitality’

The 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival will highlight cultural heritage of Armenia, Catalonia and Africa through fashion, feasts, and other festivities.

The international exhibition is inviting everyone to experience human towers with the Catalans, Armenian craft and cooking demonstrations, traditional-meets-contemporary styles from around the African continent, and much more.

“The exuberant hospitality of Armenian cooking, eating, and drinking is a source of cultural pride. Armenia: Creating Home conveys how its deep history, a tradition of feasting, and innovations in technique energize Armenia’s food scene and engage outsiders,” the Magazine says on its website.

“During the Festival, Armenian cooks will teach you how to make the staples of a feast: cooking lavash flatbread in tonir (wood-fired oven),making cheese, and grilling khorovats (skewered meats). The feasting will continue into the evening with concerts on the National Mall featuring Armenian folk and jazz music. While tasting and toasting Armenian wines, you will meet winemakers who are reinvigorating the industry through their production, from cultivating ancient varietals and aging wine in karas (large clay urns) to a winery incubator model encouraging the growth of small labels.”

Cooks and winemakers will share their experiences with traditional recipes and the ways in which food- and wine-related enterprises have shaped their cultural identity and created a pathway for exchange—both within Armenia’s boundaries and across diaspora communities.

Continuing the Festival’s ongoing exploration of creativity, change, and resilience, a participatory program highlighting the revitalization of Armenian craft will showcase the intersection of technology and handmade traditions. Visual artists and artisans will work together to build interactive installations juxtaposing tradition and innovation. Visitors will engage with Armenian designers and artisans; learning, observing, and trying their hand at weaving, embroidery, and carving. Discussion sessions will explore the function of craft, not only its utilitarian and economic value, but as a continually evolving cultural expression—a way to make meaning.

The 2018 Festival, which runs from June 27 to July 1 and July 4 to 8 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., will feature hundreds of artisans, designers, musicians, and cooks from around the world.


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