by Derick Ramos
For many of us, like myself, travelling to different countries to experience difference cultures takes a lot of planning and effort. To jet off to another country would require months of planning and saving. Luckily, Winnipeg is treated to Folklorama each summer that allows us to experience different cultures and cuisines on a minimal budget. With a Folklorama pass that acted as my travel visa, the only question that I had to answer was – where do I go first?
On my first stop, I travelled to the Far East to the Chinese Pavilion located in Chinatown. There were many displays of the rich Chinese culture that included instruments, a tea ceremony, and Chinese writing. Fried rice and sweet and sour pork were on the menu and was a big hit with the crowd. The show provided displays of Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and traditional Chinese fan dancing. An extra dragon dance and martial arts display capped off the show in the courtyard.
Suffering no jetlag, I took a quick trip to the Nayong Pilipino Pavilion Tec Voc high school. As I waited for the next show, I grabbed some pancit and a BBQ skewer and treated myself to a halo-halo. It really felt like I was back in the Philippines as there was karaoke to entertain me while I ate. Once the show started, the Kayumanggi dance group excited the crowd with their precision and creative dance numbers. The candle dances and Tinikling left the crowd in awe.
My next passport stamp came at the Punjab Pavilion located at the Punjab Cultural Centre. I was treated to a front row seat and a dinner that consisted of butter chicken and rice. The dance groups provided a hip hop infused traditional dance that brought the crowd to life. The energy was so high in the room that it had two police officers dancing on stage to everyone’s delight.
With the temperature rising, I decided to cool off and take a Nordic cruise through Scandinavia at the Viking House. The Captain of the cruise took me on a tour of the five Scandinavian countries that featured Danish Monarchy and Swedish art. The main show was comprised of traditional dances of the region as well as a Swedish drinking song.
Japan was on deck as social media had been buzzing about the Taiko drum performances. I headed to the St. Joseph’s Hall where I was greeted by the ambassador and was given a tour of the Japanese culture. Japanese calligraphy, kendo, origami and kimonos were on display to get the tourists to participate. The food fare consisted of sushi and Japanese style hot dogs. The show featured judo demonstrations and was capped off by the beating of the Taiko drums that had everyone’s hearts racing.
It was a sizzling weekend and the temperature rose even more at the Brazilian Pavilion located at the Heather Curling Club. I quickly grabbed their sample dish that had a pork stew with a chicken skewer and washed it down with a cherry Guarana drink. The exhibition literally kicked off with a Capoeira performance that featured high kicks and acrobatic flips. The Brazilian drum line captivated the crowd that left them clapping in sync during and after their performance.
With the first week in the books, Folklorama has provided thousands of people from around the world with unique shows and excellent cuisine. The second week should be just as jam packed and entertaining.
Photos by Arnel San Jose | Jeprox Photography and Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal.
Photos by JP Madden (Magdaragat) and Ron Cantiveros (Filipino Journal).