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33rd Annual Lotus Festival

July 12, 2011

As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water, and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world. – Gautama Siddhartha founder of Buddhism

For 33 years, the Lotus festival continues to celebrate the people and cultures of Asia and the Pacific Islands.   The festival is held in Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles every July when the Lotus flower blooms, symbolizing rebirth, purity, and life.    Grown in muddy, murky water like the one in Echo Park Lake, it blooms into a beautiful ‘unsoiled’ flower.  Parts of the flower can be used for tea, vegetables, seeds made into a paste for soups, or combined with sugar for pastries.

This year’s festival showcased the people and traditions of Thailand.  Many are familiar with Muy Thai martial arts, vegetable and fruit carvings, and their spicy foods.  During the event, intricate Thai dances were performed for the public, which in the past were performed for royalty. As you can see below, the dancers are wearing beautiful, vibrant clothing.

The focus is on hand movements and the bending of the fingers

resembles the movements of butterflies or birds

Just like their costumes, Thai foods are very colorful.  When I think of Thai food, sweet and spicy come to mind.  There were many food booths selling Thai food, and other vendors sold  foods similar to a farmer’s market: fruit drink stands, funnel cakes, shave ice, etc.  It would have been interesting to taste foods containing lotus.

fresh spicy papaya salad

Chicken and pork BBQ, shrimp balls with sweet sauce on the side

tofu pad Thai and lobster balls

Fruit and vegetable carving

Other Asian countries and the Pacific Islands were represented at the festival through dance and entertainment.  I enjoyed listening to the music and watching the dance performances from Thailand, China, Japan, Philippines, to the islands of Polynesia.  The only suggestion for future events is to place the foods and entertainment next to each other.  Groups of people flocked mainly to the food area and others were on the opposite side of the park watching the performances.  Overall, the event was enjoyable, affordable, and entertaining.  I had the chance to taste and experience a little bit of Thailand without leaving the country, and inspiring me to want to visit the country even more.

To see more pictures visit my facebook page.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Coby permalink
    July 15, 2011 10:28 am

    Looks good. Can you make sauce with the flower?

    • July 15, 2011 2:15 pm

      If you get very creative you can try. I’ve never heard or seen it before mainly the root can be used as a vegetable in Asian dishes. Thanks for reading!

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