Happy first day of spring! For me spring is like pushing the reset button. This year I feel like I need that more than in the past. I did not enjoy this winter at all, not even a little bit. I felt cooped up and cranky the majority of the time. There was hardly any snow – the least snowy winter in a long time. I think that was a part of my doldrums – I love snow, there is a magical beauty in snow. There was no beauty in this winter. It was dark, gray, bleak. This winter I learned how much I crave sunlight. The best thing I can say about the winter is it wasn’t very cold.
So after four months of a complete and total lack of energy or interest in much of anything, I’m hoping to start feeling more re-energized. The days are longer again. There is more sunshine! It feels really good too. Now that there is still daylight when I get home from work I can get out and start walking again, get some fresh air. I can open the windows and air out the house. That is always a welcome relief and the cats love it too. They run from window to window, noses up in the air, letting the breeze blow their whiskers, with their ears pricked forward listening to all the birds. Ahhh, the birds, it is so lovely to be able to hear all the different calls again. All of the animals are starting to perk up as well. The squirrels have a little extra zip; the chipmunks are running around the yard; and there was even a big old opossum wandering around the yard one night.
Although it is still very gray, there are signs of life all around. The lilacs have buds on them, the irises are poking up, and soon things will be greening up. So I can be a little more patient, and watch as the beauty slowly makes its way back, and in doing so renews my spirit as well.
“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead.”
~A. A. Milne, When We Were Very Young
From the onset of the modern day Olympics art and sport were believed to be a perfect marriage. The heart and soul of the Games is to foster and encourage the synchronization of the body and the mind. Art inspires sport and sport inspires art.
As a result of this belief, the early history of the Olympic Games featured competition in the arts as well as sports. Events included architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, and music. Winners of these events were also awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals.
The goal of the Cultural Olympiad is to focus on the harmonies between culture and sport and to exemplify the values of the Games: friendship, respect, and excellence. While artistic endeavors are no longer contested for medals, culture and art continue to play a prominent role. This is most evident in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. However, exhibits and performances serve as precursors to the games and occur throughout the region at the various venues during the Games.
In the 2016 Rio Games this cultural event is called Celebra. It will feature six areas of artistic creation: literature, popular art, music, performing arts, visual arts, and dance. Celebra begins in April and runs through September. Innovators are being challenged to focus on the cultural diversity of Brazil by designing events encouraging audience participation, humanizing public spaces, and bringing inspiration to every day life. All Celebra events are free to the public. The list of events that will make up Celebra has not yet been made public, however below are some highlights of Brazilian culture that may become prominent themes.
Literature: Brazil has a rich literary history dating back to the 1500s. Exhibits may feature the works of well-renown authors such as:
Popular Art: One of the most diverse categories, some of the Brazilian culture and tradition highlighted may include:
Music: Brazilian music has its origins in African, Portuguese, and European styles. The music is full of passion and energy and is a very integral part of the Brazilian lifestyle.
Visual Arts: This category encompasses the art of painting, sculpture, cinema, and photography and may feature the work of:
Dance: Brazilian dance, like it’s music, has its roots in African, Portuguese, and European styles. These dances exhibit soulfulness, sensuality, and passion.
Performing Arts: This category will likely be a blend of many of the aspects of all the others above. The goal is to bring these artistic endeavors to common spaces throughout Rio and Brazil; to bus stations, cafes, parks, open public spaces, trains, and boats just to name a few.
The impact of the cultural events has long reaching outcomes for the host country. Brazil has center stage in the months leading up to the Games and a worldwide audience for the two weeks while the Games are played. For many host countries, these events herald a boost in tourism and in doing so also boost local economies.
Check back monthly for more Olympic updates and commentary as I countdown to Rio 2016! For information on all things Olympic in Rio 2016 visit http://www.rio2016.com/en. To follow Team USA visit http://www.teamusa.org/.
These are my thoughts, personal stories, and personal opinions. Often triggered by something that transpires throughout the course of a day.
All content on this website is © Darcy Michele Scelsi