Explore Your Heritage at the International Cottages

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If you find yourself in Balboa Park on a Sunday afternoon, a must see are the International Cottages. The International Cottages essentially are 32 cottages, in which each cottage represents a different country. In each cottage, the volunteers representing the country are welcome to decorate and display the country’s heritage, make traditional food and drink, and crafts. The best part, admission to the cottages is totally free.

The cottages are open to the public from 12 PM to 4 PM every Sunday. The goal of the cottages is to promote an understanding of other cultures and to learn what makes each country unique.

This past weekend, we visited the cottages and experienced the cottages of Ireland, Poland, China and Denmark. Ireland’s cottage put on a show inside with an Irish band playing a time-honored Irish jig and also had a poster of Irish family names where you could look up your heritage and your family’s crest.

The House of Poland offered a delicious kielbasa appetizer and Denmark offered buttery cookies. In the Chinese house, a young woman was writing people’s names in traditional Chinese calligraphy.

From March to October, there are special lawn programs at 2 PM in which a country gets to showcase their native music, dance, costumes, arts, and foods. On Sunday, July 21, 2013, Columbia’s lawn program featured traditional music and dance that got the entire crowd dancing. People set up chairs all over the lawn to watch beautiful young girls in white dresses dance to their native music, and people of all ages showcase their talent. They also had a food tent and the crowds lined up to eat homemade empanadas amongst other goodies.

Upcoming lawn programs for the summer will be hosted by Lithuania on July 28, Peru on August 4, Panama on August 11, Hungary on August 18 and Palestine on August 25.

What international cottage is your favorite? Which summer lawn program will you be attending? Tell us below in a comment.


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Maddie Erdossy
Maddie Erdossy is a junior English major at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is interning at the Blue Book for a second summer as a social media contributor and blogger. As a graduate of The Bishop’s School and resident of Rancho Santa Fe, she is knowledgeable about both La Jolla and all things in North County. Her blog posts focus on food, entertainment and lifestyle around San Diego.

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