São Paulo to host Arab food and culture festival
The second edition of the festival ‘One Day in Arabia’ includes gastronomy, dances and crafts from the Middle East in two days at Ceret park. With stands organized by refugees, the event takes place on April 22 and 23.
São Paulo – The second edition of the festival One Day in Arabia takes place on April 22 and 23, at Ceret park, in São Paulo’s east side. The event will include cuisine, dance, crafts and culture from the Middle East in stands organized by refugees from Lebanon and Syria.
“There will be many typical foods, coffee grounds reading, belly dance, dabke, henna tattoos, and a stand with an actor dressed as a sheikh for people to take pictures with,” says Said El Hajj, the festival’s organizer. The idea of creating the event came as an alternative for refugees to earn some income after the end of another festival, which used to take place in the Brás neighborhood, explains El Hajj.
According to him, the foods that were the most popular with the crowd in the first edition were the shawarma, falafel and saj bread. The festival was held for the first time in November of last year and welcomed near 4,500 people. “We are counting on sunny days [for the event’s two days] and are expecting to double the crowd,” says El Hajj. Ceret, where the event will take place, is an all-outdoor park.
The festival will also have space for stands of products from other cultures, with ten of them selling varied foods such as crepes, skewers, hamburgers and Japanese food. As a way of contributing with the refugees, the non-Arab stands will donate 5% of their net profit to the NGO Bem-vindo Amigo Refugiado (Welcome Refugee Friend). The organization aids 130 foreign families, the majority of them Syrians.
El Hajj says that the refugees taking part in the festival have been in the country for a year. “Their integration has been really difficult,” says the organizer.
In all, the event will have 40 stands, plus attractions for kids, such as trampoline, climbing wall and an inflatable bouncer, among others.
Festival One Day in Arabia
April 22 and 23, from 11 am to 8 pm
Where: Parque Ceret – Rua Canuto de Abreu, no number - Tatuapé - São Paulo
Admission free or 1 kg of non-perishable food for the NGO Bem-vindo Amigo Refugiado
*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani