Thursday, 6 June 2013

Points of Light at Festival 2013

Like points of light converging at an intersection, many converging energies gathered at the Ukrainian Festival in Calgary over the June 1-2 weekend creating a a momentary radiance over the Ukrainian community.  In the afterglow, the amazing coordination of volunteer efforts just has to be recognized and acknowledged!  The Calgary Ukrainian Festival is an unusual phenomenon  - Ukrainian culture continues to flourish here in its diasporan form here in Calgary! Great performances, delicious food, quality vendors, and a community vibe - loads of connections!

How is it that we are each called to this kind of communal event?  Well, I have a theory.  We live in popular culture.  We respond rapidly to assimilation, accepting the market model for our lives, even though we really just want to be ourselves - our true selves.  Struggling with identity, we still want to belong to a group - to have some sense of our uniqueness, our individualism, to feel special.  Some people press boundaries trying to be "unique" and "noticed".  Others are willing to sacrifice their ancestral values for security and economic opportunity.  But once you have the economics taken care of, what more can a person accomplish? 

The truth is, family matters, and home matters.  We crave the sights, smells, sounds, and embrace of family.  Family matters.  We can't ignore the fact that though we may be sophisticated city folk, we yearn for the elusive, comforting fragrance of all our past comfort givers.  We are burrowing animals whether we like it or not.

Because our historic lineage is "family", it draws us to that mythical, nostalgic, sentimental homeland called Ukraine.  We thirst to know her, to feel her, to be embraced by her - to recognize ourselves in her culture and values.  A curious thing happens when it happens. It's a blast from the past jolting energy forward through the ages.

When the disparate energies of individuals line up on a meridian like this Ukrainian Festival, it is like pressing on a trigger point.  The energy leaps like a lightening bolt.  Energized!   The stories of ancient times, the dances, the songs, the smells of old sheepskin coats, and the old blanket on the bed with its faint aroma of grandparents all wrapped in Festival excitement!  Rubbing against one another, the friction of ideas, the stimulation of good company, friends of common thought - it was fun!  Hopes and dreams leap forward, what will tomorrow bring?  Looking forward to next Festival already!!
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