Secrets from the Sahara : The International Festival of Dates ; Land and Descent
It’s hard to live with no roots, it’s hard to live with no history, the past is a part of our future, traditions are a part of who we are.
There are always things that give us identity, there are always things that tell about us. Dates palm is us, is who we are, is our book of history, is our valley of traditions. Dates palm represent us, the citizens of Kébili, it represents Tunisia, it represents the Arabs, it represents Islam. We celebrate its holiness every year in time of harvest, and we celebrate it during the International Festival of Dates.
The International Festival of Dates, November 2017 in its 34th session, each year was better than the previous. This year the festival was unique, we could feel the innovation, the creativity following the lead of the festival director Dr. Maher Sghairoun who opened the door for anyone who would like to play a part in making the festival succeed. The festival is about the dates palm in relation to all kinds of arts, traditions, ethics, in realtion with all the nations so groups from different countries came to introduce their costumes, their traditions, their arts, their crafts, they came to introduce their nations one to another, groups from Maroc, Jordan, Algerie, Palestine, Iraq, Libya, mixed with a variety of local traditional groups. We were calling for it and we finally saw it, the unity. I’ve almost cried seeing the arabs united, sharing the joy with their guests from all over the world, guests from different cultures, different religions, different civilizations, the International Festival of Dates has became a symbol of the human unity.
The festival program was full and well organized, a tent was set in the city center in which people were presenting their crafts with the company of music. The opening of the festival started from the city center then headed to the ancient city of Kébili where all history has started, and where the big show will take place. The second day of the festival has ended with a night performance of the big Sufi show “Al Ziyara”, a modern picture of the ancient sufi show “Al Hadhra”.
The festival lasts for 3 days in which groups are portraying of their folklore, an ancient spirit wearing a modern dress crossing its way through the ears and eyes of the audience who haven’t felt that these 3 days have passed as if they were 3 seconds.