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There's a proverb popular in the African country of Togo, saying that "There'll be no happiness if there's no music and dance."
Well, I guess the Togolese people are born singers and dancers and they are letting visitors from all over the world get a sample on Friday for the country's National Pavilion Day celebration at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. L
et's head there to find out what song and dance performances the Togolese artists prepared and to discover more about Togo.
Taking the stage are a group of artists from Togo, who mesmerize spectators with their distinguished moves backed by traditional African beats saturated with an exotic flavor.
The Togo Pavilion is located inside the Joint African Pavilion. It lays emphasis on the development of the capital city Lome, its concepts for urban construction and its experience in promoting urban prosperity. The Togo Pavilion features an exhibition in a bid to make Lome a better city, while exploring the problems encountered in the process of urbanization.
Togo boasts the smallest area compared to all other countries in the African continent. Although small in area, Togo is hugely rich in its cultural variety and wildlife. Nearly fifty different languages are spoken in Togo, and miscellaneous religious groups can be found there, including the native animistic practices and beliefs, as well as Christian and Muslim believers.
The culture of Togo is influenced by its many ethnic groups. One thing worth mentioning is its masks. A special performance is put on everyday at ten thirty at the Togo Pavilion. The merely ten-minute show appeals to a huge crowd, who are enthralled by the mask-covered performers' vivid imitation of daily activities, such as hunting.
The locals believe that people wearing masks in certain tribal rituals are endowed with a supernatural power. Apart from established conventions like marriages and funerals, and rain dances, the masks are also featured prominently in entertainment shows.
The culture of Togo is rich in festivals. The Wresting Festival is the most famous. It falls on the second week of July every year. Every Togolese boy at the age of 18 or above is required to participate in the wrestling competitions three years in row, before they are recognized as true men.