One of Tucsonans’ favorite local festivals, Tucson Meet Yourself, is well known for delicious foods, folk arts, music and dance. Every year this FREE festival attracts thousands to downtown to celebrate our region’s diverse cultures.
This year during the October 14-16 event, the TMY Folklife Festival embraced a theme of Traditions of Health & Wellness, and Tucson MOVE hosted the MOVING Pavilion. The pavilion featured sports and games around the world.
What does our favorite ethnic festival have to do with exercise? Tucson Meet Yourself celebrates not only the living traditional arts, but also the everyday life and activities of our diverse cultural communities.
Cultural, folk, and ethnic communities throughout the world have always paid attention to the body and its health as part of a larger understanding of wellness rooted in traditional knowledge. Folk remedies for common illnesses as well as practices associated with fitness, agility, pain-reduction, fertility, longevity, endurance, spiritual and psychological balance, and even traditions related to body adornment and display form part of many traditional culture’s unique understanding of the world.
In Tucson, the traditional healing practices of Yaqui and O’odham people are enhanced by a lovely tapestry of European, Asian, African and other Native American and Latin American belief systems, sports, and health and wellness activities. In addition, there is also in our region a thriving sports culture – from court sports to golf, running and more – and a growing ‘wellness community’ associated with spas and resorts where people seek relaxation, rehabilitation, and other forms of healing.
The TMY 2011 Folklife Festival provided opportunities through activities, workshops, and demonstrations to explore how these divergent traditions and practices relate to one another; to understand how people come together around fitness activities; to form ‘folk communities’ of shared meaning and purpose; and to appreciate the diversity of ways by which cultures pay attention to the balance between body and mind.
Here are a few of the activities participants enjoyed at Tucson Meet Yourself:
• Trek the TMY Path and explore the world in eight blocks of downtown Tucson with your TMY Passport to the World. Festival attendees will be able to dance, drum, trek, stroll, and move their way through the parks and open spaces of downtown Tucson. Pick up your Passport and start your adventure! All activities were FREE of charge.
• Tinikling is the most popular and best known of the Philippine dances. The dance imitates the movement of the tikling birds as they walk between grass stems, run over tree branches, or dodge bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Dancers imitate the tikling bird’s legendary grace and speed by skillfully maneuvering between large bamboo poles. The Filipino Sampaguita Club of Tucson and Phillipine Mabuhay Cultural Association shared this fun dance with everyone.
• The Tohono O’odham have resided on their land since time began. Before history was written, these people were known as the Hohokam. Around 1100AD, ball courts were the sites for games involving the first rubber ball, and players wore pads for protection. The Tohono O’odham today are reviving their Toka Tournaments, which were very popular in the 1800s. It is a women’s game, so the Toka Field is off limits to men. Participants learned how the game is played today.
• Cricket is played with a ‘wicket.’ The popular ball game is played in England, Jamaica and India. Members of the India Society of Southern Arizona and Pakistani Students shared the skills involved in this bat and ball sport.
• Basketball is one of America’s most popular sports, often played on sidewalks and lots. Tucson MOVE Pavilion invited participants to shoot some hoops on the streets of downtown Tucson with members of the University of Arizona Basketball Alumni Association.
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