The Almond Blossom Fest started out in Agrigento as a week-long celebration at the beginning of every Spring. Celebrating the early blossoming of the Almond and olive trees, native vegetation of the Valley of the Temples assembling the Iconic mediterranean landscapes, the fest wants to bring joy and praise live and prosperity and wealth. The Fest first took place in 1934 in the small town of Naro, 12 Miles away from Agrigento, promoted by Count Alfonso Gaetani; The Fest does no longer take place in Naro; since 1937 has been taking place each year Agrigento, which is left almost entirely to the thousands of people attending and performing at The Fest.
What initially started as a celebration of the Blossoming Almond Trees is now a symbol of peace, brotherhood and dialogue of cultures. From 1954 the Almond Blossom fest host the International Folk Fest, attracted a large number of people throughout the years. Artist from all around the world, Bands, Folk group, have performed across a variety of venues in Agrigento, where people can enjoy a joyful and sharing mood for a whole week of celebration on the streets of Agrigento. Highlights of the week are the lighting of the tripod, symbol of friendship and the final performance held at the Valley of the Temples. Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples coordinated the fest in 2017 in cooperation with the City of Agrigento. In order to value those Arts which deepen in each country’s culture, the city of Agrigento has been promoting those groups listen in the UNESCO register as intangible heritage in a rich schedule of events and performances.
The Valley of the Temples was declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1997 and has been mentioned as “exceptional cultural value” in 2015). The Archaeological Park indeed aims to use this visibility to promote cultural exchange and peace among people from all over the world and wants to pursue the values of brotherhood among nations. Acknowledging your culture and popular traditions it’s not just a a celebration of who you are and where you come from but it also opens your mind and your heart to the “other”. It helps us understand different countries and different cultures and makes us realise how much people and culture from all around the world have in common. This historical moment challenges people of the world with wars, climate changes, terrorism. Despite all complications and the great difficulties our world is facing we must promote cultural exchange and the sharing of our roots and our traditions, religions, folklore, popular Drama, dances and music, all enriching the intangible heritage of one’s culture.
All international groups performing at the Almond Blossom fest have been selected for their artistic quality and their notable ethnographic research. Most of these traditions are still alive and very much felt by the local people.
The Event schedule traditionally includes show and parades throughout the city,The
Valley and the Local Opera House for the whole week, involving performers, citizens, the local authority. This year the “Palacongressi” conference centre opens its doors to the performances and meetings of Almond Blossom Fest 2018 enriching the full list of activities scheduled for this year’s fest.: Events, Exhibitions, Shows, Workshops.
The aim is to pass the valuable knowledge and heritage of folk knowledge and craftsmanship on to new generations to get them familiar with our traditions and crafts such as the art the Sicilian Cart, Folk Dramas and storytelling and Traditional dances.