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Saturday, April 14, 2007

13th Annual Artas Lettuce Festival Kicks Off Near Bethlehem

In the face of all that is surrounding them in their daily lives under occupation, the Palestinian people celebrate their resistance in all they do by carrying on their daily lives which NO ONE would want to live except for the fact that they remain on their land on which they have lived for milenium. And while living under the occupation, they still take time to celebrate their customs and pay homage to their homeland. Some say "Life must go on", but for the Palestinians living in the OT, this means celebrating against a backdrop of oppression. Below is an article about such a celebration. Following is a recipe for fatoush and a video of the Arab Student Association at George Mason University just recently performing the dabka. The first part of the video is belly dancing but the second portion is a FANTASTIC display of the dabka,
the Palestinian national dance. (I chose this video because it was the clearest to see amongst the ones I searched on youtube and their presentation also shows that Palestinians and other Arabs going to school here in the States are displaying their culture proudly for all to see)

Palestinian village celebrates lettuce festival

Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival kicks off near Bethlehem; includes competitions, performances tackling social issues

Published: 04.13.07, 11:18 / Israel News

The Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival opened on Thursday in the village of Artas, south of the West Bank City of Bethlehem, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

According to the report, the festival organizers said that the lettuce is "a fitting symbol, not only of the special fertility of the Artas Valley land but also the resilience of the Palestinian people … and the spirit of sumud or steadfastness in the face of adversity."

"For this plant has the power to survive the bitter cold and heavy rains of winter and to emerge fresh and green in the spring," the festival leaflet says.

According to the report, there will be opportunities to pick and taste Artas' famous lettuce. Other home-grown foods and crafts will also be displayed during the festival, such as during the farmers' market on Thursday afternoon. Home-cooked traditional meals will also be on offer.

Artas lettuce (Photo: AFP)

Many dramatic and folkloric performances are planned, including of the traditional Palestinian folk dance 'dabke', said the Ma'an report.

There will be three plays – St. George and the Dragon', 'Ya Baladi' and 'The Story of Muna' – and two puppet shows during the festival. Many of the shows address the issue of Palestinian movement restrictions, such as St. George tackling the Wall and lettuce farmers attempting to reach the Jerusalem market. 'The Story of Muna' and the 'Dreams of Halima' puppet show tackle the issue of early marriage and honor killings.

There will also be recitals of traditional poetry and a Bedouin goat-haired tent where festival-goers can experience the sounds of the 'rababa' string instrument, the report added.

There will be many events aimed at children, including games, competitions, puppet shows and dancing. There will also be a drawing competition during the festival, in which the top prize will be $500.

Allowing Palestinians to reconnect with their land

According to Ma'an, foreign artwork will also be displayed during the four-day festival, including Sufi texts of the Turkish philosopher and poet Mevlana Celaleddin-i Belhi-Rumi, displayed by the Turkish Cultural Centre in Jerusalem.

Textiles, objects and photos from Uzbekistan will also be displayed thanks to the Uzbek Cultural Centre in Jerusalem

Artas has a unique history of female foreigners residing in the village. The photographs taken by one particular Finnish anthropologist, Hilma Granqvist, who lived in Artas in the early 20th century, will also be exhibited.

The festival organizers are planning guided walks and hikes which are aimed at promoting enjoyment and appreciation of the Palestinian countryside.

According to the festival organizers, the festival is the "first agrarian festival in modern Palestine". This festival "honors the Palestinian peasant and allows Palestinians to reconnect with their land, heritage, and each other"

Palestinian Fattoush Salad (VERY good)


A popular Palestinian salad prepared a lot during the fasting month, Ramadan. It is a very fresh spring salad
that combines many nutritious ingredients.

Ingredients (for 4 persons):

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 spring onions
  • Lettuce
  • 1 Radish
  • Parsley
  • Green mint
  • 1 loaf of pita bread
  • Dressing: Lemon, salt, and olive oil
Cut the vegetables into small - medium size pieces. The lettuce, parsley and green mint should be cut in small
pieces. Cut the pita bread into squares of 1 square cm each and either fry them until golden brown or roast
them under the grill. Add the bread to the vegetable mixture. Add lemon, salt, and olive oil to taste.

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