The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Jackson Hts. festival celebrates diverse cultures 6 July , 2011

It can be easy to live in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the world, but it takes actual work to get along with all the people of different cultures and backgrounds who share the space.

The first-annual Interfaith Harmony and World Peace Fair and Festival in Jackson Heights attempted to bridge the cultural divides Saturday and Sunday when leaders from Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Buddhist faiths threw the multicultural bash.

“We want people to treat each other with respect,” said Thomas Raffaele, a Supreme Court judge who is also the president of the Ethical Humanist Society of Queens, one of the organizations that helped put on the event.

The outdoor festival took place over two days in the playground at IS 145, at 33-34 79th St. and featured an eclectic mix of musical performances, demonstrations along with food and clothing vendors.

Russian dancers, Hispanic singers, martial arts demonstrations and Bangladeshi pop stars were just some of the acts that took the stage.

One performance consisted of a group of people doubled over in laughter. It was part of Alex Eingorn’s laughter yoga.

“Laughter is universal,” he said after a knee-slapping session with about eight others. “At the same time, it’s very good spiritually and emotionally.”

While the heat kept most people away during the day, Raffaele said, thousands turned out at night.

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