A popular festival says their latest initiative giving people free access to at-home activities is helping to share culture.
For the past 30 years, Christian Hidalgo-Mazzei has been working with Folklorama to showcase the colourful array of cultures in Manitoba.
"I graduated from university and it was just like a summer job that I got that summer, and I was asked to come back and help out," Hidalgo-Mazzei says. "I ended up just staying and I made a career out of it."
The agency producer's latest work is helping people access other parts of the world at home. Thanks to the Stay At Home grant from the province, Folklorama is able to host weekly events on their YouTube channel for Folklorama: The Virtual Experience. Diving into the meaning behind the stories, Christian Hidalgo-Mazzei says they are showcasing home-grown talent.
"I am very passionate about preserving culture and tangible culture and heritage. Because if we do not do it, if we do not share it, if we do not pass it along, (and) if we don't educate people about it, it simply dies."
He says the pandemic and the absence of a large-scale festival does not mean the practice of sharing culture has to pause along with it.
For the next several months on Friday night, Folklorama is highlighting different cultures. One of the events includes Metis beading, one of their four interactive events, which ran out of kits within the first hours of the series announcement.
For Hidalgo-Mazzei, the stories behind the culture and performer are the important ones. He says after multiple generations culture can get lost, but they will stay alive by making an effort in learning about them.
"You see many cultures around the world, languages being lost, traditions being forgotten. You see with immigrants, after the second or third generations some of those kids no longer speak the language of their forefathers or they have lost some of their traditions."
He says if the traditions are not kept, they disappear.
He is hoping people feel drawn to the diversity they are sharing in Folklorama's programming.
Folklorama has dates scheduled each Friday at 7 p.m. until March 12, featuring Indigenous, Asian, and other communities. Hidalgo-Mazzei is hoping people take in multiple showings to get the full effect of the diversity.
"There is something for everyone," the producer says. "We try to cover the globe."