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Living Traditions in Salt Lake

Monday May 24, 2010

Before I moved to Salt Lake City, I had no idea of the cultural diversity that saturates the area.  Salt Lake is actually overflowing with many diverse ethnic groups that add to the vitality of this great city.  The annual Living Traditions celebration is a good time to recognize and appreciate  how many different cultures exist in this diverse city.  The celebration, which is in it's 25th year, showcases artists, craftspeople, food, dance and performance from all over the world. 


The brochure describes the celebration in this way: "Celebrating the authentic and traditional arts of our many ethnic groups, Living Traditions brings together people of all ages and backgrounds.  Sharing these customs in dance, music, foods and crafts, participants and audience enjoy the richness of Salt Lake's cultural diversity."








Our family has attended almost all 5 years we have lived here and we always enjoy our time.  This year, even with rain, we had a good time tasting food, enjoying performances, rubbing shoulders with locals and chatting up craftspeople.



An entire city block is sectioned off for the food.  Oh, the food.  It's a tempting walk past twenty booths as nostrils and eyes are happily assaulted with more delicious food than the stomach can contain.

I don't even like food all that much, but I still found myself completely mesmerized and totally unsure of which yummy treat to try.  I finally settled on a pupusa (a corn tortilla stuffed with cheese) from a Salvadoran booth and a teriyaki beef stick from a Hawaiian booth.  But I was tempted by the Sudanese, American Indian, Swiss, Basque, Lebanese and Pakistani booths as well.  If only I had seven stomachs.

The entertainment was a delight.  With two stages featuring round the clock dancers and musicians representing such diverse countries as Ethiopia, Tonga, Switzerland, Chile, Vietnam, Mexico and more, there was virtually no way to get bored.  Our two year old actually cried when we left the dancers behind.

The craftspeople were out in full force, demonstrating their unique talents.  We were able to see the beginnings, the in-between stages and the final products of several different traditional crafts.



It was an inspiring place to be.  My husband found himself using his fluent Spanish with a crafstman from Peru who was more than willing to tell about his techniques and show off his work, while I smiled and nodded, using my high school Spanish to understand about 50% of the conversation. 

Read more from Rebecca Brown Wright at www.thrilledbythethought.com