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Armenian Cultural Heritage main focus of Smithsonian Folklife Fest


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#1 MosJan

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:04 AM

Armenian Cultural Heritage main focus of Smithsonian Folklife Fest

 

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenia and Catalonia will take center stage at the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C on Wednesday, June 27. The Festival, which will run from June 27 to July 1 and July 4 to 8 on the National Mall, will feature over 170 participants from Armenia and the Armenian diaspora, including artisans, designers, musicians, cooks, winemakers, and performers, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia said in a statement on Monday.

During the ten-day event that annually draws millions of visitors on site and online from across the United States and around the world, the Smithsonian and Armenian partners will present the “Armenia: Creating Home” program, showcasing the country’s food and artisan craft and highlighting how Armenian communities integrate heritage into their own strategies for economic and cultural sustainability.

The President of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, the Armenian Minister of Culture, Lilit Makunts, the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, the USAID Armenia Mission Director, Deborah Grieser, the Ambassador of Armenia to the United States, Grigor Hovhannisian, and representatives from the Government of Armenia, U.S. Department of State, USAID, and Armenian-American diaspora organizations will be in attendance at the Folklife Opening Ceremony on June 28. Ambassador Mills, Ambassador Hovhannisian, and Ms. Grieser will also participate in the Smithsonian’s public discussions on cultural diplomacy and cultural tourism on June 28 and 30.

Armenia is the first country in the Caucasus region to be featured at the renowned festival in the heart of the U.S. capital. Visitors to the Armenia program will be able to learn how to cook lavash flatbread in tonir (a clay oven), make cheese and gata, and grill khorovats (barbecued meats). Along with tasting wine, observing and trying their hand at baking, dancing, weaving, and carving, visitors will also be able to virtually explore two of Armenia’s most prominent historical sites – the Areni-1 Cave housing a 6,100-year-old winery and the 13th century Noravank Monastery – thanks to the 3D imagery that was developed by the Smithsonian and CyArk with USAID support.

Apart from interactive demonstrations and workshops in Hyurasenyak (living room), Hatsatoun (bakery), Hazarashen (traditional structure), and Kenats Tsar (tree of life), the Armenian display at the festival also includes a “Smithsonian in Armenia” tent, which will highlight the work done through the My Armenia cultural heritage tourism program – a unique partnership between USAID and the Smithsonian Institution to promote sustainable rural development while preserving the country’s rich cultural heritage.

The delegation of Armenian artisans includes 18 USAID beneficiaries who have received professional training from My Armenia in craft design, entrepreneurship, branding, and marketing. By showcasing Armenia’s cultural heritage at this major festival, the colorful “Armenia: Creating Home” program, coupled with My Armenia’s continued efforts in tourism product development and industry promotion in Armenia, are bound to strengthen the position and image of the country as a unique tourism destination for avid travelers.

As part of its tourism promotional efforts, My Armenia will also organize three business-to-business meetings in Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. on the sidelines of the 2018 Folklife Festival. In each city, five Armenian inbound tour operators and hospitality businesses will meet with 12 representatives of the American tourism industry and related organizations. These meetings, which will feature press meetings, keynote presentations and networking events, are aimed at boosting Armenia as an attractive cultural heritage tourism destination, creating business linkages and, ultimately, increasing the number of tourists from the U.S. to Armenia.

The “Armenia: Creating Home” program partners include the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, the My Armenia Program, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, and the Embassy of Armenia to the United States of America.

 


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#2 MosJan

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:42 AM

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#3 MosJan

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:43 AM

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#4 MosJan

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:43 AM

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#5 MosJan

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:44 AM

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:44 AM

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#7 MosJan

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:45 AM

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#8 MosJan

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:45 AM

Thonir  Lavash  :) 

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#9 MosJan

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:46 AM

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#10 MosJan

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 12:54 PM



#11 MosJan

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 11:16 AM

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Smithsonian: Armenia’s 'tree of life' took root thousands of years ago
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Smithsonian has prepared an article about Armenia’s "tree of life" tradition, in which the magazine says that the country's engagement with the tree of life motif runs especially deep, dating back to unrecorded time prior to the dawn of Christianity.

As Armenian symbolic anthropologist Levon Abrahamianexplains, sigils on ancient figurines illustrate that people from the region revered the image of the tree long before the crystallization of a coherent Armenian national identity.

Even humble kitchenware speaks to the enduring importance of the tree of life in the Armenian household. “Vessels used in the kitchen for keeping oil or other products often have a primitive tree design, symbolizing life-giving properties of the vessel,” Abrahamian says. The iconography “can be traced back as far as Armenian culture can be identified,” he asserts—“some three thousand years.”

As Christianity took hold in Armenia in the early years of the fourth century A.D.—making it the first nation to declare the young religion its official faith—the tree of life symbol evolved alongside the rest of the culture. It became intimately connected with the Christian view of human fulfillment, an exemplar of the growth and enrichment that brought one and one’s family closer to the Lord.

Not surprisingly, depictions of the tree of life can be found on the grounds of many of Armenia’s historic medieval monasteries—often in the context of khachkars, ornate crosses etched by hand in stone steles. “The Tree of Life motif frequently appears on khachkars in the form of sprouting, bursting, blooming and fruit-bearing crosses,” Abrahamian writes, and “its presence on gravestones anticipates the resurrection of those who have passed away.”

Living trees in the churchyard have also come to take on spiritual significance. “People hang pieces of their clothes or the clothes of sick relatives on the branches,” says Abrahamian, “anticipating health or curing for the people to whom those clothes belonged.” Some sacred trees in Armenia are conceptualized more broadly as “trees of wishes,” where anyone may express a sincere wish and leave a token of themselves behind.

At this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which concluded this past weekend, organizers blended the tree of life tradition with Armenia’s rich background in the art of crochet, inviting visitors to learn crochet techniques, create personalized designs, and attach them to the limbs of a wooden tree-like scaffold in a figurative and literal coming-together. This activity was made possible by donations from the Armenia Tree Project.

Like all trees of life, the Smithsonian’s humble tree has grown more and more bountiful with each day. Swathed in a handmade coat of many colors, the tree that began as a naked sculpture of wooden planks is now a living testament to the vibrancy of Armenian tradition. “It was a very simple idea,” Butvin says, “but beautifully became something much larger.”

 






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