Rite of Spring: Flower Festivals Around the World

Rite of Spring: Flower Festivals Around the World

“April showers bring May flowers”—and with them, flower festivals. These events are found in many different countries and cultures, so no matter where you are in the world, you’re certain to find a flower festival nearby and people with whom to celebrate the advent of spring. Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival The annual Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point, is held in Lehi, Utah, each April through May. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and admire the 250,000 tulips found in every color imaginable. Other festivities include swing dancing, yoga, concerts, and a photography contest. Hiroshima Flower Festival The Hiroshima Flower Festival takes place each May 3–5 in Japan. A tower stands at the entrance to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, completely covered with various types of flowers. Look out for oleanders in particular. This flower was the first to bloom after the atomic bomb, and it represents the hope that Hiroshima has for the future. There are song and dance performances held on over 30 stages. Flowery floats are exhibited during the parade while people dance yosakoi, a dance blending traditional dances with modern music. In the evening, there are candlelit events that represent the hope for peace. Feria de las Flores The Feria de las Flores, a Colombian festival, was first held on March 1, 1957, and is now held annually in August. Tourists come from all over the world to participate. Activities include folk concerts, a fireworks show, horse rides, orchid competitions, and car shows, all culminating in the parade of silleteros, or flower vendors. This parade acknowledges Colombia’s cultural heritage. In colonial times, slaves carried wealthy men and...
Simple Gifts: The Amish Country of New England

Simple Gifts: The Amish Country of New England

If you’re in Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell (which means you’re really there for the cheesesteaks), take some time away from the city crowds and go to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Rolling fields, horse-drawn carriages, country-style meals, and roadside mom-and-pop shops. The women wear bonnets and the men wear beards. They plow their fields and keep their only telephone in the barn for emergencies. Time travel? No, but it’s as close as you can get. It’s Amish country, a pastoral paradise in the center of Pennsylvania. It’s a fresh, unfamiliar culture in the middle of an area full to bursting with American history. There’s a lot to enjoy about the Amish, and they’ll welcome you with their Pennsylvania Dutch accents and impeccable manners. The best time of year to go is in the autumn during the harvest. Not only will the trees be turning to the most brilliant shades of red and yellow, but there will be loads of fresh produce being sold on every roadside farm. Of course, that’s the season most people want to be there. If you’re looking for a quieter vacation, the springtime is your best bet. Spring is planting season, and you’ll find tiger lilies growing like weeds along the sides of every highway. Can you smell the Shoo Fly Pie? It’s a must-have before you go. It’s a traditional treat: a sweet molasses pie with a cake-like consistency and a crumbly topping. And it’s absolutely kosher to snag a slice for breakfast. Once you get to Amish country, divide up your time wisely. Be sure to find a place where you can ride...
Stepping Out

Stepping Out

During the production of this issue of Stowaway, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Cambodia to document some work that the US State Department is doing. Cambodia has a peril-filled history; it is a country recovering from genocide and overcoming a past wrought with blood. This trip was my first time to travel out of the country. Before I left on that long airplane ride that took me from Salt Lake City to Seattle to South Korea to Cambodia, I had a moment akin to when Samwise Gamgee first leaves the Shire in the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: “This is it. . . . If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.” I’m not one to travel often. The cost is prohibitive, and the time away from the work I have to do is scary to think about. However, this time I did travel. I took the step, like Sam did, and I had a great adventure! This isn’t the right place to enthrall you with my adventures in spending a week working in Cambodia and the following week in Sydney, Australia. My purpose in sharing my travel is the idea of traveling a single step. Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” All it takes is one step out of the door and then you are on your way. You’re traveling. You are on a journey. You have made the decision to enter the world, and you are bound to learn new things, meet new people, and make amazing memories. When we take that step, most of the...
Hope Rising From The Dust

Hope Rising From The Dust

A place can tell a million stories. A building, the landscape, the ground beneath your feet seem to absorb all of the emotion—the pain, the anger, the suffering—of the past. Sometimes if you just stand still and try to listen to the voices of history, you’ll hear them tell their tales. Sometimes, when a place bears a million stories, a million voices wash over you—all begging for you to listen to their story. The House of Terror One of the most visited buildings in Budapest is the House of Terror museum. Initially, this building had a relatively unassuming exterior, but because of its gruesome history as a palace of torture throughout World War II and the Cold War, it is now adorned with a metal awning with the word “terror” cut out of it. It has since been turned into an informative and moving museum with exhibits that educate patrons on the horrors that occurred within the building. The House of Terror terrorized Hungarians for decades across two political regimes. During World War II, it was home to the Gestapo-like Arrow Cross. At that time, many Jews were held and later executed there. In addition to the terrible atrocities that occurred in the House of Terror during World War II, what happened afterwards during the Soviet Era was just as brutal, more widespread, and lasted many more years. Much of the terror described in the museum refers to this second period—much less known to most Westerners—when the secret police imprisoned approximately one person from every third family in Hungary. Many of these prisoners were tortured and some were murdered....

In the Beginning…

Have you ever questioned how Earth and the people on it began? Many cultures’ ideologies and religious beliefs have important, but different, creation stories that teach that the world was created by different deities through various processes. Enrich your travel experiences by paying attention to the footprints that local religions leave on each location. We’ve compiled a list of six creation stories from around the world to help you better understand the cultures you may visit. But don’t stop here! Before you travel, remember to research the local culture and religion to enrich your visit with the locals. North America The Cherokee Nation, like many Native American nations and tribes, believe in animal spirits. Before humans populated the earth, water covered the land. Above this water, the animals lived above a great rainbow. The animals sent Water Beetle to build more space for them. Water Beetle brought up mud from the bottom of the sea. Grandfather Buzzard was then sent to discover if the ground had hardened. As he flapped his great wings, valleys and mountains were created. The earth stiffened, and the animals dissended from behind the rainbow. People were formed by the Creator after the animals had lived on the earth. South America Living along the Andes mountains, the Incan empire had a rich and deep history of god fighting god. In the beginning, Con, the Creator, lived in the form of a man without bones. He cared for the first humans, supplying them with their needs. The first humans forgot about Con’s kindness, though, and so he punished them by causing a drought on the land....