The 64th Annual USCC Union of Youth Festival marks another milestone. Thanks to all of you who came here to celebrate this event, to keep the unity and deepen the spiritual understanding of our heritage.
|Doukhobors gather for Brilliant performances, Castlegar News, May 25, 2011|
See videos online at Brilliant Culture Centre TV channel.
In this cultural journey, we have gone a long way. Our mutual friend Michael Verigin of Cowley, Alberta told us recently that he went in 1947 to the first Festival at the old Doukhobor Home in Ooteshenie. Michael attended most of these annual events and was pleased to see that even in turbulent times, the Festival has gone on.
Everyone of us has memories of his or her own first Festival. For me it was in the 1950s. For others this year could be the first one. Every year since 1947 this celebration has been a tribute to the USCC organization, the performers, the volunteers and the guests for keeping the tradition alive and contributing lots of time, energy and love in making this unique event happen.
We — the Doukhobors in Canada and everywhere in the world — are like relatives. When we see each other at the Festival, we see our families and memories alive and we feel well. The mosaic of the participants is changing and getting more and more diverse in age, ethnicity, and lifestyle. Young and old Doukhobors seek closer ties to their roots, while others are curious to learn of the noble ideas, philosophy, culture and traditions of the Spirit Wrestlers.
Today as we meet together, we should recall why our ancestors suffered and were punished in the 1700s and 1800s? And what was the main message and vision which the genius Russian writer and philosopher Lev N. Tolstoy left as a legacy to the world over 100 years ago — nonkilling, justice, equality and love to others.
The Youth Festival is not only a place for singing, good food, hospitality and beauty. It is a moment for all of us to reflect on our history, to share new ideas, and to involve more young people in the important issues of the day according to the vision of the Doukhobors — a world without wars.
Kristina and I wish you all the joys of the celebration! Happy 64th Youth Festival!