World Culture Fest Comes to D.C. Sept. 29 - Oct. 1

Posted on 09/22/23 by Audrey Carpenter


For the first time on U.S. soil, the World Culture Festival will be held in Washington, D.C. Sept. 29 - Oct. 1 at the National Monument, offering international music, dance and food, along with yoga, meditation and speakers with messages of unity, harmony and peace.

“The festival is amazing,” said Aditya Jindal, who attended the 2016 festival in New Dehli, India. “It’s perfect for older adults because there are so many different people who attend - people of all ages, races, backgrounds and cultures,” he said, like traveling to several continents without leaving the country.

With meditation sessions in the evening and 60-minute yoga sessions in the mornings, older adults can sit side-by-side with others, feeling immersed and connected, which is by design. “The Fall season is the perfect time to hold this, especially because it’s an outside event,” Jindal said. The combination of being outdoors for several hours and interacting with others from varied cultural backgrounds is the best antidote for those suffering from depression, isolation and loneliness,” he added.

The national, free festival, held only once every five years, is hosted by The Art of Living, a foundation based in Northwest D.C. centered on self development and well-being. The festival was previously held in Berlin, Germany in 2011 and New Delhi, India in 2016, drawing politicians, diplomats, performers, social activists, artists, chefs and spiritual leaders.

“We have 500,000 people already registered for the D.C. festival, but are expecting one million,” said Jindal, a Foundation member and volunteer.

The idea behind the festival is the work of Ravi Shankar, an Indian yoga guru who founded The Art of Living in 1981, which now operates in 151 countries.

“The purpose of the World Culture Festival is to send a message that the whole world is one family and we can all coexist with our differences. It is an opportunity for leaders from all segments of society – business, politics, religion, academia – to come together and renew their vision to work for the common welfare,” Shankar said.

A Festival Village will be set up with numerous screens and performance platforms, multiple food areas with a variety of food trucks offering international cuisine, and plenty of restrooms and security. Dancers and singers from across the world will perform native dances and songs.

The festival concludes with a “Wisdom Series” by Shankar on the last day, including an attendee Q&A session.

For more information, visit

This story is provided by AARP Virginia. Visit the AARP Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

More from AARP in Richmond

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events