While day-to-day these young people live in the modern world of jeans, t-shirts, cell phones and mp3 players, their cultural identity is obviously alive and well. It was great to see youth celebrating their tradition so proudly, through the creative means of music and dance.
|It was a real festival atmosphere!|
|Young people from all over the country gathered to show off their talent & traditions|
|A professional dance troupe combines traditional and modern elements in a celebration of Timorese identity|
|A woman wears her traditional hand woven (!!) cloth and a bell bracelet.|
It made me wistful in many ways for my own lost cultural heritage. What were the dances my ancestors performed to mark the passage of time or special occasions? What were the words they sang, what did they wear? My heritage is mostly British, Scottish and Welsh, yet none of those traditions were passed on down to me. I guess in the New World people made new traditions - but where have those gone? Apart from my tendency to don a cowboy hat when embarking on an adventure, I can't really say that I have carried any of those traditions, either.
I feel that in the Western world, many of us feel the emptiness of this cultural vaccum. We grasp at spiritual traditions from the past, including goddess-worship, paganism, and yes, yoga, we try to create new traditions that we feel reflect our values more than our modern commercialized holidays. These traditions are no longer celebrated on a communal level, but built in isolation around our nuclear-family model.
So much we have lost along the way... I wish this country luck and strength in preserving their amazing cultural identity. What are your cultural or family traditions?