Culture

Top 7 Slavic Festivals From Around the World

Slavs
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Slavs migrated to many countries around the world in the previous centuries which is why the Slavic heritage, music, and food were able to spread to many continents and many different countries. 

Despite the fact that they had to move, Slavs never forgot about their heritage. No matter where they were, Slavic people continued practicing their traditions and celebrating their festivals.

So, what is a Slavic festival exactly? 

Slavic Festival

A Slavic festival is an event whose main purpose (apart from entertainment) is socializing and presenting traditional food, dance, music, or crafts. 

The performances are meant for other Slavs, but everyone is invited to join in the fun. 

Here is our comprehensive list of the top 7 festivals of Slavic culture you should visit if you wish to experience the essence of Slavic everyday life. 

1. Slavic Fair Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia 

In the summer of each year, this festival is organized in Lake Long Park in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This international fair is primarily focused on traditional crafts. 

Customs from many Slavic countries such as Poland, Croatia, Belarus, and more can be seen during the celebration of this festival. 

Skilled craftsmen from almost every area in Russia and all over the world gather to attend this festival. They are able to show their work to numerous guests. 

Apart from craft exhibitions, visitors can enjoy other performances as well. 

What is especially exciting about this festival are the competitions. Apart from the dance and music, there is a record-holding competition in one of the following categories: the largest circle dance and the most massive multinational performance of a folk song.

Imagine a choir of people from various Slavic countries performing the same song! Obviously, the idea of this festival is to promote mutual understanding, familiarity, and dialogue among diverse Slavic cultures [1].

2. Slav Fest in Brisbane, Australia 

Slav Fest in Brisbane, Australia, happens every summer (since 2017). At the time, ten Slavic communities from this city decided to unite and create a festival celebrating Slavic heritage.

Luckily, they got a lot of support from the Queensland government and the City of Brisbane, after which the festival was ready to set off.

This annual festival comprises a gala concert, an exhibition in the city library, and many entertainment events throughout many Slavic clubs in the city. These events usually include performances of traditional dances or music and food fairs.

The mission of this Slavic festival is twofold. On the one hand, the organizers wish to inspire Slavic communities to express, interact and recognize each other. On the other hand, the goal is to demonstrate the diversity of Slavic heritage to the general public of Australia. 

Slav Fest in Brisbane is educational at its core. Through the annual events, they wish to spread awareness about Slavic presence in this multicultural country. 

Slavic immigration to Australia has been going on for many decades. During that time, many Slavs left a significant mark on Australian history and culture. This festival remembers great Slavic men and women, as well as their culture and heritage.

However, there are also classical music and dance concerts performed by members of many Slavic communities. Non-Slavic ethnic groups are welcome as well. For example, in 2019, the Chinese community was able to present its culture to the public [2].

3. Slavic Heritage Festival in Baltimore, Maryland USA

This Slavic festival happens on Saturday and Sunday at the end of October each year. Father Ivan Dornic, a priest of St Mary’s church, is the creator and the main organizer of this festival, dedicated to connecting all Slavic groups living in the area.

The event is held in a beautiful, green area around St Mary’s church on the outskirts of Baltimore. This is a great opportunity for visitors to encounter representatives from various Slavic ethnic groups: Croats, Slovaks, Czech, Serbs, Belarus, etc.

Each time this Slavic festival takes part, all of the participating groups are invited to show up with their national flags. This way, visitors get to see the vast cultural diversity present at the festival.

In the company of vendors, visitors, and artists from Slavic countries, you will be able to watch and participate in many activities. 

If you have children, they can join too, as the organizers thought about entertainment for the youngest ones as well. 

Of course, there are places to see and you are able to taste traditional food from all over the Slavic world. The festival also offers opportunities for some folk crafts shopping: vendors will offer hand-made jewelry, ceramics, chocolate, and more.

Slavic Heritage fest in Baltimore is a great place to meet new folks and learn about Slavs who are currently living in the USA [3].

4. Polish Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

Every summer, many members of the huge Polish community in the Milwaukee area, Wisconsin join this great Slavic festival. 

Usually, the festival takes place on Friday and Saturday. The purpose of the festival is to host Polish people but also anyone interested in their culture, who are willing to share a cup of good beer with their friends!

The organizers want this festival to serve as a way to help the descendants of Polish immigrants remember their heritage by participating with other Poles in this event full of good food, live music, and dance.

Even though it is a Polish (and Slavic) festival, anyone is invited. Whoever is interested in Polish heritage, regardless of the ethnic background, can get a ticket and join in as a visitor. Good food, beer, and fun are guaranteed!

The many satisfied visitors over the years can thank the Polish Heritage Alliance for initiating this festival. Guided by the idea to preserve and gather young Polish generations in the area, they created Polish Fest in 1982.

Visitors get to enjoy live music performances on multiple stages. Apart from that, the main festival attraction is the Cultural Village [4].

5. Portland Slavic Festival, Oregon USA

The annual Portland Slavic Festival usually takes part in September and hosts many performers and visitors from various Slavic cultures of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

There is something for everyone thanks to the diverse program that the festival offers. Every year, many craftsmen and vendors join the event and get the opportunity to show their skills. The idea is to learn about the rich Slavic heritage through entertainment. 

Many local businesses, organizations, and corporations have been supporting this festival from the day it was created. 

Along with celebrating and presenting the Slavic heritage of countries like Ukraine, Belarus, and Slovakia, other countries are welcome too. Especially those who share similar historical experiences with Slavs (like Uzbek and Tajik groups). 

This Slavic festival is about the many forms of heritage: traditional music, dance, food, beer, etc.

Kids love Portland Slavic Festival because organizers always prepare something for them. This festival has something for everyone [5]. Slavs gather there to enjoy good company and have lots of fun [6].

6. Annual Russian Arts And Culture Festival in West Hollywood, California USA

Every year in May, the Russian community in California looks forward to this festival. It is an opportunity for many Russians in the area to come, promote their businesses, get acquainted with other members of the community, and have fun.

The organizers believe that arts make Russian identity as much as history and language. That is why they see this festival as a way to remember and cherish Russian heritage abroad.

For almost two decades, this Slavic festival has been a place of dialogue and cultural appreciation, focused equally on Russians and other communities in the area interested in Russian cultural heritage. 

Unlike many festivals on this list, this one is not focused on tradition as it is about Russian high culture. Visitors enjoy things like classical music nights, operas, etc. 

As this festival is in May, there is an opportunity to celebrate a very important day in Russian history. It is the 9th of May, the Day of Victory over fascism in Europe, in which the Russian Red Army had a huge contribution [7]

Russians have nine national holidays. If you want to read more about them, check out our article about Russian holidays.

7. Spring Slavic Festival in Tauranga, New Zealand

If you thought there were no Slavs in a country so far from Slavic lands as New Zealand – you were wrong!

This event happens once a year in November (usually on Saturday) to make sure visitors are available for some weekend entertainment. 

The festival cultivates the culture and heritage of former Slavic migrants, who decided to settle in New Zealand. These guys never forgot their homeland and traditions. 

Living in a multicultural environment, they want the memory of their origins to last and survive for future generations.

Participants and visitors of the festival live in broad areas of Tauranga (Hamilton and Auckland) but they come from all over the country. 

It is a young festival, created a few years ago. However, since it has an amazing program (traditional dance and music shows) chances are that this Slavic festival will last for many years to come.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this vivid and colorful Slavic heritage festival is that it is absolutely free. 

The guests could entertain themselves with live dance, as well as many traditional music groups. 

Also, just like in every Slavic household, good food is obligatory. Many traditional Slavic recipes (from Belarus to Macedonia) can be found there.

As usual, many vendors are there in case you are in the mood for obtaining a hand-made piece of traditional art [8].

The Bottom Line

From the USA to New Zealand, the huge international Slavic diaspora never forgot their tradition and heritage. They might live in different countries and speak different languages, but the common Slavic roots are what unites them.

That is why each year, tens of thousands of people visit Slavic festivals.

Slavs, known for their hospitality and friendliness, like to party hard and have no problem sharing their customs with others. 

References

  1. http://www.slavfestival.ru/about
  2. https://www.slavfestbrisbane.com/
  3. https://www.slavicfestmd.com/about
  4. http://www.polishfest.org
  5. https://globalpdx.org/event/portland-slavic-festival/
  6. https://www.slavicfestivalportland.org/ 
  7. https://www.weho.org/home/showpublisheddocument?id=41863 
  8. https://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/225492-slavic-festival-bay-of-plenty.html

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Meet the Slavs

Posts by the Meet the Slavs Team.

Meet the Slavs is your most comprehensive online resource about Slavic people, their cuisine, culture, history, mythology, and more.

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