Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage
Some people view Folklife as an academic pursuit or a strictly artistic endeavor; but if you’ve ever passed along a family recipe or told a story rooted in your cultural heritage, you have participated in Folklife. Within its most basic of definitions, Folklife is the sharing of living traditions, and is commonly associated with practices such as dance, song, and art. But when you consider traditions that have sustained and evolved within generations and communities as our state has grown, you begin to recognize that Folklife itself is what binds us all.
Given our geography, many of Maryland’s traditions are born from the waters that flow throughout our landscape. Communities have been built around crabbing, boat building, and ports of call. It’s also these waters that connect us, in a broader way, to each other. From mountain lakes to the Chesapeake Bay, and down to the Ocean, hon, it’s the shared experience of where we come from and where we’re going that define us. Foodways, storytelling, and the arts are a means by which we identify who we are, and when we pass on these traditions to others, it becomes a part of their story, too. Within Maryland, the sharing of cultural heritage has created a diverse and vibrant population, rich in customs old and new. The Folklife Area celebrates both the traditions that originated in Maryland as well as those which became a part of our fabric by other cultures and communities who now call the Old Line State home.