CHINA – Enjoy a tea ceremony in a replica of a Chinese home, practice writing Chinese Calligraphy, get close-up to a Chinese dragon, see traditional costumes and enjoy beautiful Chinese Lanterns. Presented by Chinese Culture and Community Service Center Inc. and Coordination Council of Chinese-American Associations.

EL SALVADOR – Experience cultures of El Salvador, make crafts, explore woven hammocks, art and cultural artifacts, and try on traditional dress. Presented by Montgomery County Sister Cities Program and the Embassy of El Salvador.

ETHIOPIA – Participate in a traditional coffee ceremony, write your name in Amharic, and play traditional games from Ethiopia. See beautiful jewelry, artifacts, and clothes from Ethiopia. Presented by the Ethiopian Community Center in Maryland.

INDIA – Dress in a sari or turban, try on a bindi, experience the traditional art of henna, and explore the differences between Northern and Southern India. The India tent features beautiful textiles and hands-on crafts & activities. Presented by The Kaur Foundation.

UKRAINE – Experience the traditional art form of Pysanka, egg painting. Watch painting and embroidery demos, and see traditional dance. Presented by the Federal Cultural Foundation.

Henna Art 

henna ceremony

Visitors to the India tent at the Festival can experience on of the most beautiful traditional arts – henna art. The art of painting henna designs on the body, also called mehndi in Hindi, has been practiced for more than 5,000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East.

Henna paste, made from grinding leaves of the henna tree, was initially used to cool the body. When it was discovered that the paste left a stain on the skin, henna art was born! Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, was known to use henna to decorate her body.

Henna art is used not only to decorate the body, but is also used for auspicious or celebratory events to bring good fortune. Historically, henna art is associated with romantic love and the ritual of marriage. The intricate floral and paisley designs often seen on the hands and feet of an Indian bride are a sign of good luck for the newlyweds. Henna art is usually practiced by women who teach others the art form—passing down recipes and designs from one generation to the next.

girl in china tent with dragon [permission from parent] photo by Ken StanekChinese Lanterns

At the World of Montgomery festival, the China area is decorated with beautiful lanterns hung from all sides of the tents.  Stop by the China tent to learn how to make one!

If you would like to write hello in Chinese, the greeting is Nǐ hǎo and the characters are below.



Cascarones at World of Montgomery

Look for the Cascarones (Kas-Ka-ro-nez) at the El Salvador tent.  These are beautifully colored eggs filled with confetti and small toys traditionally made to celebrate Easter. Easter confetti eggs are often broken over someone’s head as a symbol of good luck. The Cascarone or confetti egg tradition is said to have begun in Italy using hollowed eggshells filled with perfumed powder.  The El Salvadoran tradition became popular in Mexico and spread to other countries in Latin America.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony photo by Ken Stanek

Coffee as an Art Form

Participate in a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at the Ethiopia tent.  The Ethiopian ceremony demonstrates the full life cycle of coffee preparation and is usually performed by a young woman who wears a long white dress with colorful embroidered borders on its sleeves. The young woman has been taught how to conduct the ceremony through watching and learning from other women. Through carefully planned movement and practiced rituals, the relatively simple act of washing, roasting, grinding, brewing, pouring and serving coffee is elevated to an art form.  It is a feast for the senses of smell, sight and taste.

Directions and public transportation to World of Montgomery Festival.