This weekend it is possible to visit Asia without ever leaving Saint Paul simply by attending the local Dragon Festival.
Dragons and dancing in Saint Paul, Minnesota
Although the festival’s centerpiece are the Chinese dragon boat races, this is really a pan-Asian festival with bits of culture from across Asia and the Pacific.
The dragon dance
Saint Paul’s Dragon Festival opens with the awakening of the dragon in an energetic dance.
The opening ceremony concludes with the eyes of the dragon being dabbed with red.
Let the festivities begin!
The dragon boats practice for the race
The dragon boat races aren’t until tomorrow, but today is practice day and the steady beat of the drum floats across the water as the teams work to perfect their technique.
Food plain and fancy
Of course, there is food available, both the kind you eat and the kind you just look at because it has been carved into such lovely designs.
Martial arts on display
Martial arts demonstrations allow young practitioners to show off their skill.
Dances from the other side of the world
There is also dancing, lots of dancing, from all across Asia and the South Pacific.
First up are some hula dances from Polynesia.
There are also dances from Japan.
Dance from Burma are also performed.
India has a huge range of cultures and, thus, a wide variety of dances.
The Indian dancers are my favorite, perhaps in part because a colleague’s daughters perform after the younger children have finished.
I’m expecting classical Indian dance, but instead they perform a rollicking Punjabi dance. It is fun to watch, made more so by the obvious joy the girls take in it.
There is a lot more to see and do here, but this seems like a lovely way to end my short visit to the cultures of Asia and the Pacific.