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Posts tagged ‘festivals’

“Visiting” Hungary at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

As if the 4th of July weren’t exciting enough in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian host the annual Folklife Festival that week on the National Mall.  Bringing together international musicians, storytellers and craftspeople, the Festival celebrates culture and the preservation of traditional arts throughout the world.  Every year, three themes are selected for the festival and usually include a country, region, or collective community experience.  This year the themes were 1) Hungary, 2) Endangered Languages and 3) African-American fashion.

The Hungarian Village section of the festival sought to celebrate traditional music, dance and crafts as well as the people who are revitalizing that culture today.  There were informative museum-like exhibits, artisan demonstrations and lots of concerts.  Ever the international traveler, I was so excited to explore the Hungarian portion of the festival!

Hungarian tower

The Peacock Tower designed by Transylvanian architect Gyule Szilegyi stood at the center of the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

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The Florence Baptistry, or How I Happened to Earn a Indulgence

Procession at the Cathedral and the Baptistry ...

Procession around the Florence Cathedral and Baptistry during the 18th century

Apparently circling the Duomo in Florence as part of the Feast of Corpus Christi procession earns you a plenary indulgence.  I didn’t so much choose to participate as I was swept up into the crowd.  If anything, our triumphant entrance underneath the gleaming mosaics of the Baptistry was reward enough.  But the nuns at the convent where I was renting a room insisted I had earned some spiritual extra credit by taking this walk, so it must be true.  Looks like travel really is good for the soul!  Here’s how it happened.

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