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Kalmyk Festival to Be Held This Weekend

Cultural experience open to all residents

For many residents in Howell, no matter how long they have lived in the township it is likely many have never driven past Kalmuck Rd. or have seen the on the property. 

On Sunday residents will have the chance to not only see the temple but also learn more about the people who have used it for more than six decades at the first Kalmyk Day to be held in the township. 

The event is being sponsored by the Three Jewels Foundation, and Maria Taunov who is helping to coordinate the event said she is excited to help introduce her culture to the residents of Howell. "It's a big day for us," she said. 

In addition to a soccer tournament being held at to start the day Taunov said the day will include a Buddhist service at the temple, traditional dancing and songs and performances by people of all ages.  Taunov said the day will include "highlights of our 60 years here," which includes a trip to the town by the Dalai Lama in the 1970's. 

Sunday's festivities will also be filmed by representatives from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC which will feature the Kalmyk culture at next year's Folk Festival on the National Mall. She said crews have already been to Kalmykia in Mongolia and will now add their footage from the Howell event. "They went there for a week. They filmed the dancers and the singers. Now they're coming to film the Kalmyk Americans."

Along with the Kalmyk dancing and music the day will also feature traditional food and beverage. Taunov said guests will get to try a traditional tea which she said includes salt, butter and milk. They will also be able to have a traditional fried dough called bortsok which she said goes well with the tea and can also be stuffed with meet. For the less adventurous she said there will also be hot dogs and hamburgers available.

Taunov said in a community as diverse as Howell she is glad the Kalmyks will have a chance to show more about their heritage and history. "We want to show people in Monmouth County and all over America that we've been here for 60 years," she said. "There is such a diverse culture in America and we're part of it too."

The temple is located at 12 Kalmuck Rd. and the festival begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Taunov said the event will be held rain or shine. 

Moms Thoughts August 17, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I have visited the temple, shared their tea and lunch and met some of the people. They are wonderful and interesting. I hope to attend the festival on Sunday. Its such a unique and wonderful opportunity to learn about this culture!
Dan Massa August 18, 2012 at 01:23 AM
As a former Mayor in Howell I have been associated with the Kalmyk community over 40 years. I remember the first Kalmyk Day we had in 1973. The Kalmyk community was introduced to me by the late Giga Andreyev who became one of my best friends. The Kalmyk people are the most sincere, generous and family oriented people I know. I hope the people of Howell take this opportunity to participate in this day. DAN MASSA
Moms Thoughts August 19, 2012 at 09:00 PM
What an incredible event. I went over with my daughter and it was a beautiful celebration! I was disappointed not to see very many Howell friends, neighbors, etc at this wonderful event. I have visited the temple and compound before and truly enjoy the rich history associated with these people and the vast cultural experience. I wish more families would avail themselves to these opportunities, it is such a great learning experience for children. I am so proud to have the Kalmyk's and Monks as my neighbors and look for to more community events here! I took lots of pictures/video and will post them on my facebook www.facebook.com/momsthoughts
Adam Hochron (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Hi Moms Thoughts. Would you be willing to upload any of your pictures or videos to the story? I'd love to include them to show what happened at the festival since I was unable to make it. Thanks, Adam

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