Thursday, 13 March 2008

Bhutan prepares for the Smithsonian folk life festival

March 13: Preparations are under way in the capital for the Smithsonian folk life festival which will be held in Washington D.C. in the United States. The festival will be held from June to July.

The 42nd Smithsonian Folk life Festival in Washington D.C., USA will open in June and end in July.

This year the festival will focus on the living traditions of Bhutan. Here in Thimphu, a trial exhibition will open next week.

The festival in Washington D.C. is described as the largest living exhibition of all aspects of Bhutanese life and culture ever presented outside the kingdom. The festival will celebrate Bhutan's special approach towards life in the 21st century, which, as national policy, is described as the pursuit of "Gross National Happiness."

More than 100 Bhutanese artists, dancers, craftspeople, cooks, carpenters, farmers, and representatives of monastic life will travel to Washington to take part in the festival and celebrate the living traditions that define and sustain our culture.

Artisans will demonstrate Bhutan's 13 traditional arts. Weavers will showcase the diversity of complex weaving traditions that have made Bhutanese textiles some of the most coveted in the world today. Sculptors, painters, and carvers will demonstrate the skilled arts that continue to adorn monasteries and temples, as well as most Bhutanese homes. Monastic dancers will perform mask dances from the highly choreographed and symbolic sacred festivals, the tshechu.

Some 1.5 million people are expected to attend the exhibition.

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