When learning about the traditions and material culture of an immigrant or refugee community, folklorists often are interested in the ways that traditions change and evolve in new homes, recognizing that newcomers creatively adapt their traditions to new contexts. The folklorists working on the Bosnia Oral History Project were curious to learn how Bosnian traditions take shape in Bowling Green.
For the Bowling Green Bosnian community, differences between traditions as practiced in Bosnia and Bowling Green are also important. While some traditions are created anew in Kentucky, many are continued by relying on items brought or purchased from Bosnia; items such as clothing, textiles, cookware, and music are highly prized. Bosnian material culture ties this immigrant community to their roots and home far away.
In this exhibit you will see the traditional arts of Bosnians in Bowling Green, including foodways, recreational activities, and ways of making home and expressing faith. Bosnian traditional arts and material culture are as rich as Bosnia’s long history. Many of these traditions have similarities to those of other groups found in Bowling Green and throughout the American South: hearty foods, a rich musical identity, and a culture of hospitality. The notion of hospitality, particularly neighborliness, infuses Bosnian identity.
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Bowling Green’s Bosnian dance troupe, KUD Zumbuli, performs at the International Festival of Bowling Green in 2012. Photo by Kim Mason, courtesy of the International Festival of Bowling Green.