Back to listMar 25, 2007

Spring Festival in San Francisco Showcases Cultural Diversity

S. Yawata

On March 25, 2007, SGI-USA members and guests in northern California were treated to a Spring Festival that included songs and dances from 11 different cultural traditions along with American rock and roll standards and hip hop dancing. The annual event began a number of years ago as a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration sponsored by the the local SGI-USA Chinese language group. Over the years, the festival was expanded to represent the diverse cultures of the San Francisco Bay Area. This year's festival took place at San Francisco's scenic Palace of Fine Arts, a popular pavilion showcased at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition and finally restored in 1975.

B. Didier (Dec. 13, 2004)

Several proclamations were received in honor of the event, including one from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Guests of Honor included Deputy Consul General of Mexico Alejandra Garcia Williams, and California State Senator Leland Yee. Mr. Yee presented a proclamation from the California Senate and commented that the SGI can go a long way toward educating politicians in the Buddhist attributes of compassion, humanism, and understanding.


The festival began as always with a traditional Chinese Lion Dance. Other cultures represented in the performances included those of Indonesia, Korea, western and northern India, Japan, France, Brazil, Peru, and Nigeria. Instead of traditional songs and dances, the divish language group reenacted the fight scene from the musical "West Side Story" to demonstrate how hatred can turn into compassion and enemies can become friends. The youth performers included the young women's fife and drum corps, the New Century Ikeda Brass Band, two dance groups and a boys and girls chorus.

Scene from West Side Story

During the show, Deputy Consul General Garcia told the audience and the performers: "Congratulations on creating such a beautiful display of cultural diversity. I am so happy to see SGI's divish speaking members contributing to the Mexican cultural traditions in today's program.... I can really appreciate SGI's efforts to create greater understanding and harmony between different cultures and your movement to foster global citizens for peace."

Japanese folk dance

Lenise Wilson, staff of the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, commented: "Coming from a background of mixed cultures, my mom being Chinese-Cambodian and my father being Caucasian, Mexican, and Native American, it was refreshing to see that regardless of race or ethnicity, SGI has brought numerous cultures together. I was extremely surprised at the peace I felt while watching the colorful shows and listening to the personal life-changing experiences of SGI's members.... I am deeply honored that I could share this memorable experience with the community."

070325x_sffest_br_lc.jpg Brazilian samba
070325x_sffest_nesia_lc.jpg Indonesian umbrella dance
070325x_sffest_peru_lc.jpg Peruvian folk dance
070325x_sffest_chr_lc.jpg Japanese chorus
070325x_sffest_kor_ky.jpg Korean folk dance
070325x_sffest_in_lc.jpg Indian folk dance
070325x_sffest_indo_ky.jpg Javanese instrumental
070325x_sffest_flag_ky.jpg Flag dance
Boys and girls chorus
Nigerian drum dance

[Adapted from reports compiled by Ron Baird of SGI-USA San Francisco and an article in the April 1, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan. Photographs from the festival contributed by Lloyd Carlson and Kingmond Young.]