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23/06/2017 - 16:26hs

Curitiba fair to feature Arab foods

The 15th Festa Junina Árabe will happen over the weekend at Igreja Ortodoxa Antioquina São Jorge, featuring an amalgamation of Arab and Brazilian cultures running the gamut from sfiha to quentão drinks.

São Paulo – The multicolored flags, the stands, the bingo games and even the traditional quentão drink of the quermesse fairs that crop up throughout Brazil every June will be there. But the food available at a fair in Igreja Ortodoxa Antioquina São Jorge, an orthodox Antiochian church in Curitiba, Paraná, will be Syrian and Lebanese.

Press Release

The fair will happen on the patio of Igreja Ortodoxa Antioquina São Jorge, in Curitiba

Festa Junina Árabe will have its 15th edition this year and 12,000 people are expected to attend. Approximately 50 churchgoers have volunteered to help out – a few refugees included. The celebration will be much bigger this year, in the wake of last year’s success: the widely advertised edition welcomed 10,000 people – which came as a surprise to organizers.

“This time around we doubled the amount of food and increased the number of cash registers where people can trade cash for chips [with which to get food],” says priest Samaan Nasry. Sfiha, kibbeh, shawarma, falafel, grilled kofta and sweets like namura and atayef will be on sale from the stands. Admission is free. “These are typical foods from Syria and Lebanon, even though sfiha and kibbeh have been incorporated into Brazilian cuisine and are available everywhere,” he explains.

Press Release

Organizers are expecting 12,000 people to attend

All proceeds will go to the church’s fund, which it spends on assisting refugees in Paraná, among other things. Nasry is a refugee himself: he was forced to flee Raqqa, in Syria, after Islamic State troops destroyed his parish. “I arrived in São Paulo in October 2013 and spent six months there. Then I moved to Curitiba, where I was welcomed warmly,” he says.

According to him, the way Brazilians have welcomed Arabs since the very first immigrants streamed in is one of the reasons the church in Curitiba created the Arab fair, which combines Arab and Brazilian cultures. “The first generations brought in the kibbeh and the sfiha. Now, they’re bringing shawarma and falafel. Brazilians opened their doors to Arab people, and this combination of cultures is great,” he claims.

The event will take place on the church patio. Credit and debit cards will be accepted. The doors will open at noon on Saturday (24) and after mass on Sunday (25).

Quick facts
15th Festa Junina Árabe
Igreja Ortodoxa Antioquina São Jorge de Curitiba
Address: Rua Brigadeiro Franco, 375 – Mercês, Curitiba (PR)
Dates and hours: Saturday (24) from 12 pm to 10 pm and Sunday (25) from after mass to 10 pm
Free admission

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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