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Celebrating the Culture of Welcome…
Welcoming Neighbors through Traditions

Lady Liberty welcomes the world; she was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States representing the friendship between nations. It is also a symbol of freedom from oppression. Before air travel, ships sailed into New York Harbor and The Statue of Liberty welcomed their passengers, many of them being immigrants traveling to the United States for the first time.

The American colonists began importing the pineapple from the Caribbean in the 17th century. Due to its seemingly exotic qualities and rareness, the pineapple soon became a symbol of hospitality in early America. Trade routes between America and Caribbean islands were often slow and perilous and it was considered a significant achievement for a host to procure a ripe pineapple for guests. Displaying or serving pineapple showed that guests were honored. The pineapple continues to symbolize those intangible assets we appreciate in a home: warmth, welcome, friendship, and hospitality.

Remember that basket your neighbor brought over when you moved into your new home? That little gesture belongs to long held traditions. The welcoming of new neighbors into a community has been expressed in different ways around the world.

In Jordan, the host offers coffee to welcome a new neighbor; coffee is an important cultural symbol of hospitality simultaneously extended and accepted as an act of reciprocated goodwill.

Local Russian merchants and villagers present their distinguished guests with a loaf of bread and salt. The custom spread through Europe and even as far as Israel as a gesture to welcome new neighbors. To the newcomers, bread expresses the wish that they shall never know hunger and the salt that their life shall always have flavor.

In the United States today, new neighbors are welcomed with a bouquet of garden flowers or a plate of cookies.

In France l’apéritif, a late afternoon snack of cheese and cured sausages, gathers neighbors while in the countryside, neighbors will invite new residents over for a barbecue.

In India, vegetarian treats may be brought as a housewarming gift or the new family invited for lunch or dinner and presented a gift before departing.

In China tea is served to welcome guests as a form of respect.

What are your welcoming traditions? How do you welcome new neighbors into the community? How are these new neighbors encouraged to take part in the life of the community?

During the Holiday Folk Fair International, volunteers and guests will travel the world as they participate in the United Nations 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The United Nations General Assembly noted “the importance of international tourism in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world.”

Culture, reflected in heritage and traditions, is of immeasurable value to communities. Culture shapes community identities, fosters respect and tolerance among people, and has become a key tourism asset, creating distinctive differences among communities.

This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature, and their history, providing them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.

This year’s featured foods at Holiday Folk Fair celebrate the traditions of welcome: from Bread and Salt to Tea and Treats.


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State Fair Park Exposition Center


State Fair Park Exposition Center


2 p.m. - 9 p.m.

10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

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Phone: 414-225-6225  1-800-FAIR-INTL  Email: info@folkfair.org

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