Bethlehem Cultural Festival arrives in UK


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British residents can truly get into the Christmas spirit this year, thanks to a four-day festival that comes from Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

From December 2 to 5 in London and Glasgow, the Bethlehem Cultural Festival organizes numerous artistic and cultural events to showcase the rich heritage of Palestine and the Mediterranean.

Organizers say the festival will celebrate a region “flourishing with positive energy and creativity” through a series of lectures, cooking demonstrations, films, theatrical productions and musical performances, both live and online.

Now in its second year, the founders of the festival said the event hoped to “remind everyone of the importance of this city and its people,” beyond its historical and geographic significance.

“We provide a platform for artists around the world to connect and work together to find common ground through their work and through panel discussions to address key issues that cultural practitioners face in their work.” , said Melissa Scott, one of the festival’s co-founders. .

“We build on the rich cultural heritage that this region has always had over the centuries and try to remind the world of the positive cultural work done every day on the ground. “

The festival kicked off its busy schedule in London on Thursday with celebrity Palestinian leader Fadi Kattan. He discussed Palestinian food and heritage with food writer Xanthe Clay and Sam Clark, who owns Restaurant Moro in the British capital.

The evening also included discussions on the impact of border building around the Eastern Mediterranean and on Palestinian fiction writing. It ended with a performance by flautist Nay Faris Ishaq, based on the work of the famous Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Friday’s list includes an interview between Iraqi writer Haifa Zangana and journalist Victoria Brittain about Palestinian women who wrote about their experiences as ex-prisoners. It will be followed by a performance of the Levantine folk dance Dabke and a play by Palestinian playwrights and directors Ahmed Najar from London and Ashraf Afifi from Gaza.

On Saturday, the festival moves to Scotland with a twin Glasgow-Bethlehem program that will see coordinated lighting of the trees in Manger Square, Bethlehem and Glasgow Cathedral. There will also be synchronized Christmas carols from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Other events take place in Scotland’s largest city, including a performance by Palestinian alternative rock band Mafar and screenings by filmmakers in Glasgow and Palestine.

For more details, visit bethlehemfestivalculturel.com

Updated: December 3, 2021, 12:56 PM

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Darcy J. Skinner