Introducing this year’s feature country TURKEY!

Turkey is a nation straddling eastern Europe and western Asia with cultural connections to ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south. The Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea to the west; and the Black Sea to the north.  The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant importance.
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country’s second largest city (Istanbul being the largest). The city has a population of 14.5 million. The entire country counts 74 million people.

In Turkey you can find sheer diversity between its Aegean beaches and eastern mountains: In Cappadocia and the southwestern coasts you can enjoy mix trekking, horse-riding and water sports. Turkey’s beaches are one of the most popular vacation destinations in Eastern Europe!
Cosmopolitan Istanbul, on the Bosphorus Strait, is home to the iconic Hagia Sophia, with its soaring dome and Christian mosaics, the massive 17th-century Blue Mosque and the circa-1460 Topkapı Palace, former home of sultans. It is the largest city in Turkey, constituting the country’s economic, cultural, and historical heart.
The city is also known for an endless supply of hospitality, good-humour and insightful conversations with their locals, who have an infectious love of life and generosity of spirit. The vibrant, inclusive and expanding community is full of people who work and party hard, treasure family and friendships, and have no problem melding tradition and modernity in their everyday lives. If you ever get the chance to be part of their everyday life, join them in their favourite haunts: çay bahcesis (tea gardens), kahvehanı (coffeehouses), meyhanes (Turkish taverns) and kebapçıs (kebap restaurants)!

Turkey’s delicious specialties will take you right to the heart of Turkish culture: For the sociable and family-orientated Turks, getting together and eating well is a time-honoured ritual. Enjoy olive oil–lathered Aegean vegetables, spicy Anatolian kebaps and dishes from Turkey’s many other corners.  Enjoy a glass of çay and some baklava for dessert – and always remember that eating in Turkey is said to deepen your understanding of the country.

Istanbul_night ankara01 antalya-beach Cappadocia istanbulbosphorusfrombridge Recipe-for-Turkey-Kebabs1

Introducing Austria

Austria is a German-speaking country in Central Europe, characterized by its mountain villages, baroque city architecture, Imperial history and rugged alpine terrain. Vienna, its Danube River capital, is home to the Schonbrunn and Hofburg palaces, and has counted Mozart, Strauss and Sigmund Freud among its residents. The country’s other notable regions include the northern Bohemian Forest, Lake Traun and eastern hillside vineyards. The country counts approximately 8.5 million people.

Austria is best known for its sugar-cake baroque church interiors, its historic palaces such as Schloss Belvedere and its Gothic masterpieces such as Stephansdom – the country has impressive contemporary architectural contours! A visit to Vienna’s Museums-Quartier, to Ars Electronica in Linz, or a stroll alongside the illuminated Kunsthaus Graz are a must if you wish to experience and explore the country’s various faces.

The best way to experience Austria is to travel through the deeply carved valleys, along roads and railways cut improbably into the rocky flanks of mountains, and around picturesque lakes. But often the landscape is simply too rugged for road or rail: hiking and mountain biking is then the best way to reach isolated alpine meadows. Sometimes cable cars or dizzying chair lifts offer an alternative way up, and come winter they bundle skiers and snowboarders onto the slopes. Austria’s plentiful lakes are ideal for summer swimming, and in winter many freeze over for skating.

Culinary specialties? Vienna’s traditional coffee houses are perfect relaxing and recharging in a homely atmosphere. Traditional Beisln (bistro pubs) are laced with the smell of Goulash, Tafelspitz (boiled beef in broth, traditionally served with horseradish, chives and apple sauce) and other traditional Austrian dishes. Outside Vienna, regions such as the Waldviertel, the Danube Valley and Southern Styria are places to enjoy rustic food and excellent wine in picturesque landscapes.

Blick auf das barocke Schloss Schönbrunn in Wien, das eines der bedeutendsten Kulturwerke und eine der meist besuchten Attraktionen Österreichs ist danube-vienna-0 tafel

Introducing Greece

Greece is a country in southeastern Europe consisting of 2 mainland peninsulas and thousands of islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. It’s often called the birthplace of Western civilization and Athens, its capital, retains ancient landmarks including the 5th-century-B.C.E. Acropolis citadel and Parthenon temple. Greece is also known for its beaches, from the black sands of Santorini to the party resorts of Mykonos.

Athens has been the center of Greek civilization for some 4,000 years, it counts approx 790 000 people. Today, it is considered a conspicuously wealthier, more sophisticated, contemporary and cosmopolitan city.
Most visitors will leave impressed with its vibrant street life and relaxed lifestyle, where people take time out for endless coffees and evening strolls, dine out until late and enjoy the city’s nightlife, long after the rest of Europe has gone to bed. It’s not uncommon for the nightlife hubs of Kolonaki, Psiri and Gazi to stay busy until dawn.

Lapped by brilliant blue water and sprinkled with sun-bleached ruins, the Greek islands will fill your imagination with mythical tales, your belly with local flavors and your soul with true relaxation. Greek landscape is breathtaking, and Greek people are passionate about politics, coffee, art and gossiping.

Greeks take pride in their cuisine and will go out of their way to ensure their guests are well fed. Basic ingredients such as feta and olive oil are complemented by creamy cheeses and unique, tangy greens. The Italian legacy of pasta takes on a distinct Greek slant, with rich sauces and perhaps mussels steamed in ouzo or fresh, baked garlic. Traditional dishes are grilled peppers stuffed with rice and cheese or roasted lamb with fresh lemon and mint.
beautiful-greece-corner-mac-wallpaper Paros Greek restaurant in the old Anduccis location. HDtimelapse.net_City_1351_hirez

some participating Societies!

The Alliance Française is the largest cultural network in the world with more than 800 centers in 137 countries; counting 550,000 students every year. In  Vancouver, the Alliance Française has been actively promoting interest in the French language and culture since 1904 as a non-profit cultural and educational association managed by a Board of Directors elected by its members. Its mission is to foster the appreciation of French culture through cultural events and to offer French language courses to everybody.

 Lithuanians of B.C. is a very small ethnic community experiencing a resurgence of membership and participation. The society with its Board of Directors plans about five or more community events each year and has an active Facebook page and website. As an inclusive society, the Lithuanians of BC try to make a place for diversity,  fellowship and many aspects of the Lithuanian culture.
Visitors to the Lithuanian cultural table at this year’s festival will be showcased an interactive video of the Lithuanian language. They will be able to  hear the very old and unique Lithuanian language  from native speakers and a video.

The Rancho Folclórico Cruz de Cristo is a non-profit organization that cultivates and promotes public interest, awareness, and appreciation for the traditional culture and heritage of Portugal.  The group was established over 35 years ago and consists of 54 dancers, ranging in age from 6 to 28, musicians, instructors and a Board of Directors.  The dancers perform traditional Portuguese folk dances from all regions of Portugal at cultural and church events, festivals, parades and seniors’ homes throughout the lower mainland.

The Slovenian Society is a non-profit organization established in 1958.  Their main mission is to help preserve Slovenian culture and language, and to provide a venue for their cultural and social events the Slovenian Hall, located at 5762 Sprott Street in Burnaby.  In between events, this great little hall is available to others for rent, providing a warm and intimate environment for family and dance-related functions.  Visit their website for more information:  http://www.vanslosoc.ca

The Spanish Association of BC was founded in 1969 as a soccer association that very quickly developed into a cultural association. It has been promoting Spanish culture since 1970  by participating in cultural events in the metro Vancouver area, establishing a  Spanish school in 1972,  holding regular dinner dances within their community  and supporting annual Spanish cinema nights.
The Spanish Association of BC participates every year in the European Festival and presents their most popular dance: Flamenco. It is not by any means the only Spanish dance but it is the most visually. appealing

The Swedish Cultural Society promotes Swedish culture by organizing and taking part in events throughout the year, such as the welcoming of spring at the Walpurgis celebration in April, the Swedish Midsummer weekend in June, the Christmas Fair in November, and the beautiful musical procession of St. Lucia in December. The society also offers language classes for children and adults along with movie nights and cooking classes for anyone interested in all things Swedish.

The Royal Society of St. George, BC holds social events throughout the year to celebrate English heritage within Canadian context.  The Society believes in supporting Canada’s links with England and especially our common allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, who is the Society’s patron and the Head of State of both the United Kingdom and Canada.  The goal is to maintain links with other British societies throughout Canada and around the world.
The Society’s members are mostly people with English roots, but people from other parts of Britain are welcome. The society encourages all people with interest in England and the UK to join as full members.

Members of the German Society mostly volunteer for the St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, and publish the blog Westcoast German News, respectively.  The main club is the Vancouver Alpenclub, which is also home of the Alpenplattlers.
The Alpen Plattlers are an enthusiastic group who enjoy German Bavarian Schuhplattler dance based in Vancouver Canada. Many of their members have been dancing since childhood having toured Germany and Austria in 2000 and 2005. Their drive is to keep Schuhplattler dance alive and have fun doing it. While what brings them together is dance, they are also a social group who enjoy doing activities together.

If you have any interest to learn more about one of the societies, or if you wish to be put in contact with the society, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to connect you!

Email: Info@europeanfestival.ca

Introducing the United Kingdom

The U.K., made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is an island nation in northwestern Europe. England – birthplace of Shakespeare and The Beatles – is home to the capital London, a globally influential center of finance and culture. The UK has an area of 243,000 square km and about 64.5 million inhabitants.

What to visit first? The options within the United Kingdom are endless: the English Country, Scotland with its Highlands and Islands, London, Wales, Devon and Cornwall, Birmingham, Northern Ireland and the Midlands, Edinburgh or Yorkshire. No matter where you decide to go first, you won’t be disappointed!

England is full of astounding variety: In the cities, the streets buzz day and night, filled with tempting shops and restaurants, and some of the finest museums in the world. After dark, cutting-edge clubs, top-class performing arts and formidable live music provide a string of nights to remember. Enjoy the English countryside or a classic seaside resort – Wherever you are in the compact country of England, you are never far from the next town, the next pub, the next restaurant, the next national park or the next impressive castle.

Scotland has many treasures crammed into its compact territory – big skies, lonely landscapes, spectacular wildlife, superb seafood and hospitable, down-to-earth people. Scotland is a land with a rich, multi-layered history, a place where every corner of the landscape could tell deep stories from the past.
In Scotland you can enjoy fresh seafood mere hours after it was caught, beef and venison that was raised just a few miles away from the restaurant’s table, and vegetables that were grown in your hotel’s own organic garden. Finish your meal with a malt whisky – rich, evocative and complex: the true taste of Scotland.

close-up-of-Scottish-kilts-of-a-marching-bagpipe-band-WPlondon-icons2-640 scottishhighlands_cnt_24nov09_iStock_

 

Introducing Romania

Romania is a central European country known for the forested region of Transylvania, preserved medieval towns such as Sighişoara and many fortified churches and castles, notably clifftop Bran Castle, long associated with the Dracula legend. The area is ringed by the Carpathian Mountains, which are popular for trekking, climbing, skiing and bathing in natural thermal spas.

With its 19.9 million inhabitants, it is the seventh most populous member of the European Union. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest with approx 2.2 million inhabitants. It is the cultural, industrial, and financial center of Romania. It is located in the southeast of the country, lying on the banks of the Dâmbovița River.

Romania is a country of natural beauty: The Carpathian Mountains draw a wide arc through the center of the country, leaving a swath of exposed rocky peaks surrounded by groves of pine and deciduous trees, and stretches of bright green meadow below. Europe’s second-longest river, the Danube, marks Romania’s southern border before turning suddenly northward and emptying into the Black Sea. The Danube Delta is a vast and unique protected wetland, perfect for hiking, fishing, boating and birdwatching.
The land that gave us Dracula has no shortage of castles and medieval villages: Spooky Bran Castle, for instance, with its spurious connection to Bram Stoker’s fictional count.

When in Romania, make sure to connect with the locals: Romanians in every region are known to be open, friendly, proud of their history and eager to share it with visitors. Let them spoil your taste buds with specialties of authentic Romanian cuisine, which has greatly been influenced by Ottoman cuisine. Specialties include  ‘tochitura’, a meat stew seasoned with onions and spices, ‘ghiveci’, over 20 vegetables cooked in oil, ‘sarmale’, pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with a mix of minced meats, rice and spices and ‘mititei’, small skinless grilled sausages.
Yummy!

cabbage-rolls-7 The-Danube-Romania-Wallpaper transylvania-mircea-costina-photography

 

Introducing Germany

Germany is a Western European country with a terrain of vast forests, rivers and mountain ranges, and 2 millennia of history.  With 80.7 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous state in the European Union. The country covers an area of 357 000 square kilometers.
Few countries have had as much impact on the world as Germany, which has given us the printing press, the automobile, aspirin and MP3 technology. Germany is the birthplace of Martin Luther, Albert Einstein and Karl Marx, of Goethe, Beethoven and the famous Brothers Grimm.
Germany’s landscapes will likely leave a big imprint on your memories: there’s something undeniably artistic in the way the scenery unfolds – the dune-fringed coasts of the north, the moody forests, romantic river valleys and vast vineyards of central Germany’s backbone, and the off-the-charts beauty of the Alps, carved into glory by magnificent glaciers.

Amongst the most popular travel destinations you’ll find Berlin, the capital, which is home to thriving art and nightlife scenes, iconic Brandenburg Gate and many sites relating to the history of World War II.
Munich is known for its Oktoberfest and cavernous beer halls, including 16th-century Hofbräuhaus. Frankfurt, with its skyscrapers houses the European Central Bank and one of the biggest international airports. Hamburg and Leipzig also offer an incredible amount of German art, literature, culture, opera and Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture.

Do not forget to indulge in the famous Black Forest cake,  Spaetzle or home made Bratwurst sausages. Sample not just famous beer but also world-class wines, most notably the noble Riesling!

Altes_Rathaus_Leipzig_2013 BG_E1_Berlin Oktoberfest-Munich-Germany

Europe Day Event – Join us this coming Saturday, May 9th!

Europe-Day-May-9-2015

 

Join us on Saturday, May 9th, 2015, from 10am – 5pm for a day of Food, cultural dance, cultural dress, and a great showcase of the things to come at this years European Festival.

Event Details

Admission to watch the performances is FREE, and a teeming plate of Polish and Hungarian favorites costs a mere $10. In the evening, there will be a “Euro Dance Club” featuring 4 live DJ’s from 9pm to 2am  (cover charge of $10).

The event will be hosted at the “Hungarian Cultural Society Of Greater Vancouver”, located at 728 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC.

For those of you still interested in participating: it is not too late:

to book a time slot for any cultural dance ensembles contact Marysia Filipowski (mflipski@telus.net or604.525.9160)

Wear your traditional dresses while enjoying a day of fun, friends, and great food! This is a great event to get in the mood for the European Festival happening on May 30 & 31st at Swangard Stadium!

Other highlights of the day: A Photo Booth that allows anyone to try on traditional dress and get their photos taken. Prints are produced on site, so you can take your picture home right away!

Bring your friends and family! We are hoping to see you there!

Adam Janusz
Representative from Poland, on behalf of Eurofest BC Society

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Introducing Latvia

Latvia is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, and Belarus, as well as a maritime border to the west with Sweden. Latvia has 2.1 million inhabitants and a territory of 65,000 square kilometers.
The country is known for its strong national identity, diverse culture, modern cities and landscapes ranging from wide beaches to dense, sprawling forests. Latvia’s capital is Riga, home to museums and churches, notable wooden and art nouveau architecture, a vast Central Market and a medieval Old Town. St. Peter’s church is the centerpiece of Rīga’s skyline. This Gothic church is around 800 years old, making it one of the oldest medieval buildings in the Baltic. Its soaring red-brick interior is relatively unadorned, except for heraldic shields mounted on the columns. A colorful contrast is provided by the art exhibitions staged in the side aisles. At the rear of the church, a lift whisks visitors to a viewing platform 72m up the steeple.

Latvian ethnic food is simple and tasty – their cooking is based on organic and seasonal ingredients avoiding over complicated techniques. Latvian dishes demonstrate wonderful qualities by being so natural and pure. Some of the specialities are the traditional bacon rolls ‘Pīrāgi’, ‘Skalndrauši’ (vegetable tarts), traditional Porridge called ‘Bukstiņbiezputra’ and homemade Rye Bread. Are you hungry yet?

downtown view from the sant peter cathedral riga, latvia House_of_Blackheads_and_St._Peter's_Church_Tower,_Riga,_Latvia_-_Diliff Pīrāgi

 

 

Introducing Portugal

Portugal is a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. Its ocean side location influences many aspects of its culture – salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve’s beaches are a major tourist destination and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s-1800s, when Portugal had a maritime empire. Medieval castles, cobblestone villages, captivating cities and golden beaches: Portugal offers it all: history, great food and idyllic scenery!

Its capital and largest city is Lisbon, with a population of 552,700:
Lisbon is recognized as global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism. Lisbon offers all the delights you’d expect of Portugal’s star attractions: Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums are all part of the colorful cityscape but the real delights of discovery lie in wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets.

Portuguese cuisine has many Mediterranean influences and is famous for its freshly baked bread, olives, cheese, red wine or crisp vinho verde, chargrilled fish, cataplana (seafood stew) and smoked meats – the Portuguese are said to have perfected the art of cooking simple, delicious meals.
A variety of spices used to perfect their dishes include piri piri (small, fiery chilli peppers), black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla and saffron. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine both for cooking and flavoring meals. Garlic is widely used, as are herbs such as coriander and parsley. Portugal is also famous for its numerous wine regions and the production of port wines.

lisbon-portugal_2584007k Lisbon-Portugal Adraga

Explore the best of the European culture in Vancouver!