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Creating Home

Armenia: Creating Home

June 27–July 1 and July 4–8, 2018

Armenia is not merely a small country in the Caucasus… it is one of the wellsprings of world civilization, on the same level as Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Whoever bakes or eats bread, makes or drinks wine, uses metal tools or jewelry, or wears clothing and shoes is tied by invisible bonds of cultural inheritance to Armenia. In this sense we are all Armenians.

Nestled at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, Armenia is a small yet resilient country. Markers of its complex history punctuate its rugged landscapes: highland slopes sprinkled with thousands of petroglyphs, fortress-like churches from the earliest days of Christianity, and skeletons of enormous Soviet-era factories. Twentieth-century Armenia was characterized by massive displacement, conflict, and shifting borders, resulting in one of the world’s largest diaspora populations.

The Armenia: Creating Home program at the 2018 Folklife Festival featured two case studies offering a glimpse into Armenian culture, greatly influenced by its surroundings, heritage, and ongoing exchange with its many diasporas. Foodways presentations and artisan craft traditions shared the importance of economic and cultural sustainability in the face of change and how these practices create home—both in concept and in form.

From the physical production of food and craft for everyday life to the memories and emotions these traditions convey, the program challenged visitors to explore their own notions of home while experiencing Armenian culture.

Armenia program partners included the Government of the Republic of Armenia, the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, the My Armenia Cultural Heritage Tourism Program, funded by USAID and implemented by the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, and the Embassy of Armenia to the United States of America.

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