WASHINGTON — The World Culture Festival is coming to America for the very first time.
From Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, the three-day festival will be held on the National Mall, hosted by the Art of Living founder, global humanitarian and peace ambassador, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, along with Mayor Muriel Bowser.
"This is a place where people can let go of the stress and let go of their depresses, and come together with the spirit of celebration," Shankar said. "People from all over the world, all different cultures and traditions will come and exhibit their art pieces, dance music and all of that. Then, we will also attend to the mental health and the loneliness issue which is really bothering the world today. We will have some meditations and some inspirational talk so that people will realize that they aren't alone."
The World Culture Festival is set to be the biggest event at the National Mall this year with 50,000 people currently registered to attend, and more than 150,000 people expected to attend.
The last World Culture Festival was held in New Delhi, India in 2016, and hosted 3.7 million people, with more than 1 billion streaming online.
Shankar has helped millions of people worldwide find peace and resilience in the face of adversity, learning not only how to excel in their own lives, but also how to become powerful agents for social change.
He also creates trauma-relief and meditation programs for at-risk youth, war veterans, prisoners and survivors of disaster.
One hundred eighty countries will be represented at the festival this fall, which will feature food, music, dancing and speakers from around the world including current and former heads of state, American political figures, spiritual and faith leaders, as well as American entertainers will also be featured during the event.
Shankar is part of many festivals and celebrations throughout the world each year.
He says this festival's purpose is, "to uplift human spirit and make life a celebration." Adding, "We will have all different dance forms and music from Japan to Argentina, from Canada to Australia. People from all over the world will be there."
While showcasing different forms of music and dance from nearly 200 countries, is a big part of this festival, another purpose is to focus on helping people's minds and well being.
Through his four decades of teaching, Shankar has created numerous educational and self-development programs and tools that facilitate the elimination of stress and foster deep and profound inner peace, happiness and well being for individuals.
"We will be addressing the mental health issues. We need to see that society be free of all types of stress. We will work towards this and for this we are inviting all different organizations. It's a collective effort to make society happier," says Shankar.
For more information on how you attend the free World Culture Festival, head to: https://wcf.artofliving.org/.