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25 May 2007

Festival, Part II

More images from the "Moon Viewing Festival." These candles spelled out a message for the revelers.

The EU-Japan Fest in whole represents a desire that's pretty unique in scope. Years ago, as the European Union (then the European Community) solidified deep relations between its member states (think of it as a group of people getting together for business interests and sticking around long enough to become a family), some called for this understanding to be made, in a sense, official.

Their festival website quotes the Greek Minister of Culture in 1985, Melina Mercouri: "A mutual understanding of our cultures, our identities, is essential to true European integration."

So while knowing that their economic ties weren't enough to make a European Union identity one as complete as, say, an American identity or a Brazilian identity (Brazil's being the more fun of those two, perhaps), the EC's Council of Cultural Ministers decided a new Cultural Capital of Europe would be declared each year. The program gives that capital a chance to showcase their country's way of life on an international stage. Since the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992 (replacing the EC with the EU), the cultural exchange with Japan has gone strong with the EU-Japan Fest. Each Cultural Capital since 1993 has worked with the festival. Again, this is pretty unique: a large international body seeking cultural relations with another international body, for the purposes of celebrating ideas and traditions that are really personal.

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