Many cultures have dances that are traditional. Mexico has the Jarabe Tapatio, known as the Mexican Hat Dance. Italy is famous for the Tarantella. In Korea they have a dance that dates back 2,500 years called the Farmer’s Dance.
The Farmer’s Dance originated long ago for a purpose. It is performed during agricultural events including planting and harvesting of crops. It was performed to encourage the farmers by giving them a beat to work to.
The music is fast paced and the dancers perform acrobatic movements. They twirl long paper streamers attached to their hats. They wear colorful clothing.
While I witnessing this I thought the dancers possessed impressive skills that must have been honed with much practice.
What kind of dances are traditional to your culture? What was the purpose or meaning behind them? Dance is more than just a performance art.
In the Catholic tradition there are saints for different causes. St. Erasmus or St. Elmo is the patron saint of Sailors. St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Animals. What do they have in Buddhism?
In Buddhism it appears they have different Buddhist shrines focusing on different causes. This was taken a while ago when I worked in Asia. This was a Buddhist Temple in the Pusan/Busan area. I was told by a Korean who went with us that the photo below was the Fishermen’s Buddha and that the women there were praying for the safe return of their husbands and a good catch. The top photo may be from the same temple or from another Buddhist temple focusing on fertility in the same area.
I find it interesting to see the traditions in other cultures and religions. Sometimes we have some similarities and sometimes there are differences. It makes visiting a new place even more interesting. What are your traditions?
Did you know Manhattan has a Korea Town? Do you know where it is? Which restaurant has decor that makes you feel you are in Korea? Jongro BBQ can transport you to Asia.
Korea Town, also known as K-Town, is south of the Empire State Building. It is on 32nd Street roughly between Broadway and 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The neighborhood has several restaurants. The first few I walked into that were on street level were packed on a Sunday afternoon. I decided to try Jongro- which was on the second floor of a building at 22 West 32nd Street. I was pleasantly surprised.
The decor of the restaurant brings you to Korea. I lived in Korea for two years and it reminded me of a restaurant in the country we stopped in on the way back from hiking a mountain. Jongro BBQ has antique items from Korea on the walls and on poles. They have old signage, a post box, and a vintage delivery bike to name a few. They also constructed areas of the restaurant to look like architecture you would find in Korea.
This is a BBQ, so you will find cooker areas on the tables. I am supposed to avoid beef and pork. A lot of items on the menu include those things. However, they did have my old standby, BeBimBop. This dish can be served hot or cold. I like it both ways. They only serve it cold at Jongro. It was excellent. I asked for it with egg on top instead of beef and they obliged. The rest of the dish is vegetables and rice. They had a couple of other items on the menu if you did not want a meat dish.
If you are visiting Manhattan and want to eat Korean food or something healthy, head to Jongro BBQ. Enjoy the decor while you are there. It is one of the gems of Korea Town.
On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish for a day. Another ethnic holiday that is starting to be celebrated by many, not just those who are from where it originates, is Cinco de Mayo. At Casa Villa everyone is invited to experience the food and culture of Mexico.
Besides food they have live music, folk dancing, bouncy houses for the kids, and vendors. I was only there for about 40 minutes and it was back to back entertainment.
I was able to see a more contemporary Mexican music group when I arrived.
Then, Folklorica of Poughkeepsie performed four dances from Oaxaca, Mexico. First, a man and a woman performed a dance known as Mixteco.
Next, the Folklorica of Poughkeepsie performed a dance with puppets called Chinas Oaxaquenas.
A group of girls from the same group then performed a folkloric dance.
Lastly, a dance called El Torito, with a bull puppet, was performed.
The food was delicious. They had food and drinks being sold outside, but during the celebrations a limited menu was offered indoors if you preferred less action.
The party started around lunchtime and went into the night. Some stay most of the day, while others stop in for a short visit. Again, I was only there for about 40 minutes. I understand I missed other performances before I arrived and I am sure others went on after I left.
I wish I could have stayed longer. From what I experienced I highly recommend stopping by Casa Villa around Cinco de Mayo. You can experience the food and culture of Mexico.
Where can you find the highest concentration of grotesques in New York City? The answer is on the campus of City College of New York.
City College is located on Amsterdam Avenue near 138th Street. It is in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Manhattan just north of Harlem.
How Many Grotesques?
According to “The City College of NY 150 Years of Academic Architecture” written by Paul David Pearson (1997) the buildings are “encased with over 600 grotesque figures that directly relate to the educational function of each building. The figures were designed by Livingston Smith, a staff member in the post’s architectural office, modeled by G. Grundellis and cast in terra cotta.” I got this quote from another website. Scouting NY website says there are 1,000. I don’t think I was able to access close to either of those numbers walking around campus, however, there are a lot to see.
How to Get There
In Manhattan take the number 1 subway line to 137th Street- City College station. Exit and walk up Hamilton Place and turn right on 138th Street. When you cross Amsterdam Avenue you are there. Anyone can walk around the campus. There are not many people there on the weekend, but I was still able to walk around the buildings. There are areas you can not walk on campus. Some streets or alleyways may be closed off with fences.
If grotesques peak your interest, it is worth a trip up the 1 train. It may also be a good destination prior to Halloween.
In the United States people raise money for many various causes in different ways. Some events that benefit charity include : walk-athons, running races, and dinners. How would one raise money for an animal charity? In Beacon they have an event called Beacon Barks.
Beacon Barks is a parade and street festival. They close down a portion of Main Street from 9D for a few blocks. After a short parade of dogs and their owners, people hang out on the street. Some dogs are rescues and some are not. People mingle on the street, lined with vendors selling canine-related items, charities, and different animal rescues. The animal rescues bring a few dogs each that are up for adoption. and you can interact with the dogs. The vendors carry a variety of gourmet dog biscuits and other doggie treats. Some vendors sell canine attire such as ties, bandanas, and sweaters. There are food vendors as well for humans. Costumes are judged and live music is provided. It is a fun event for dogs and their people.
Several organizations sponsor the event and it has one beneficiary: Safe Haven Animal Shelter and Wildlife Center. Safe Haven has currently started construction on a new building. Besides sheltering dogs, when they finish they will add to their responsibilities rehabilitating birds and other animals such as turtles with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.
When is a parade not a parade? When you think of a parade what usually comes to mind is people marching in groups on a planned route with floats and bands playing. The New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival does not fit into that definition.
The Easter parade is more of a mingle. Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th Streets becomes filled with not only parade participants, but also spectators. The participants wearing bonnets amble this way and that stopping for long stretches to pose for selfies with spectators and photographs. Spectators have short conversations with participants about their bonnets and where they are from.
It is not just locals who participate, but tourists from around the world join in. I met a group of women from Australia, I believe they said they were from Brisbane. There was a family group from Norway that also joined in. Some people even bring their canines with hats. You will see all ages participating, young children through seniors.
One can see a variety of bonnets during this parade. Some fall under traditional Sunday best hats, while other bonnets were constructed with a hot glue gun or even screws. You will see many spring or Easter themed bonnets, but not all fall under those categories.
If you plan to visit New York City during the Easter holidays join in or be a spectator to this long held NYC tradition. Just head to 5th Avenue near St. Patrick’s on Easter morning. It’s an Easter treat!