Team Teaching World CulturesIt would have been rather boring without special cultural celebrations every ones in a while – don’t you think? A rather dull existence with days followed by similar weeks, months, years, generations and so on. But then human beings had a brilliant idea: they integrated special dates, at least a few times a year, when regular duties are stopped and the participation in a cultural party is the thing to do.

Those special dates are even mentioned in the bible: “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year.” (Exodus 34:22 )

So, one day Sigal Bujman met Marc Pingry, on a production of a political documentary no less, and he tells her he has been always obsessed with festivals and he wants to document them in a television series. Sigal jumped to the obsession wagon and they immediately made a list of where they would go to film them.

Thirty episodes later they can share some insights:

“It was surprising to find that some festivals have a similar core, like the Day of the Dead in Mexico and the Ancestors’ Festival in Japan. They both honor the dead in a beautiful way yet very differently.

We have seen many festivals ending in a grand parade. The faces of participants filled with pride. Some talk about the tradition they want to pass on to their kids. But its not just about preserving the past, it’s also about the contemporary and innovative. It’s an expression of human creativity whether it’s a thousand year old tradition like the extremely crowded Chariot Festival in India or a street constructionist performance at the Buskers Festival in New Zealand. (An earthquake since destroyed the square in Christchurch where the Buskers festival took place, so we are lucky we have those images on film as vivid memories.)

In all festivals we have seen the day-to-day attire making room for the dress up, and the routine moving over in favor of the imagination or the extraordinary.

To us festivals represent what is positive and happy in humankind. As outsiders observing, we witness the communal and dissimilar in these occasions and that is what fascinated us and that is why we are still in an ongoing quest to discover the fantastic festivals our world has to offer to all of us.”

 

 

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

                    – Mark Twain