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2007 Snapshot of the Artas Folklore Center

Contributed by Artas Folklore Center on 28.09.2006:

(Archive of the Artas Folklore Center)

May 2007 Inauguration of Il Iliyeh Website Cafe

Days after receiving a donation of a computer lab from the European Union Office for Technical Assistance / West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Iliyeh Website Cafe was up and running, providing a much needed service for villagers. Providing services such as these is one way in which the Artas Folklore Center tries to draw more villagers into its orbit and interest them in the preservation of their heritage. Do we dare hope that we will start seeing more entries on Palestine-family net from Artas inhabitants?

May, 2007 Canadian Filmaker Angela O’Hara following in the footsteps of Celia Rothenberg, visits Artas to make a documentary on the jinn, for which Artas is famous.

April 12-15 2007 The Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival

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The Artas Valley became a giant salad bowl during the four-day Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival which took place April 12-15, 2007. To the lettuce in the hothouses were added peppery poetry, a zest of zajjel and a lot more than a dash of debka, and, yes some salt in the wounds alluded to in the dramatic performances. To help digest their meal, the guests sauntered around the exhibits, hiked or even planted trees. To begin your explorations of the Festival start at “The Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival in a Lettuce Leaf” There you will find links to the program, festival guide, photo essay, media coverage and more. There’s lots more to come, so check back soon!

March 8, 2007 Artas Folklore Center celebrates 150 Years of Women’s Encounters in Artas

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Women hailing from countries around the world enjoyed a special encounter with the women of Artas as well as the Cambden Abu Dis Friendship Society on International Women’s Day. Aside from acting as witnesses to the recognition provided to women, young and old, from the village, they saw some of the sights, enjoyed poetry, stories, dancing and drama as well as the delicious products of the kitchen. Some of them bought souvenirs made by the women as well.

To understand why this village is such a fitting venue for an International Women’s Day event, see “A Century and a Half of Women’s Encounters in Artas”

February 21, 2007 The Association

d’Echanges Culturels Hebron-France facilitates the visit of members of Adala to Artas.

Three French Political Science students from Paris, belonging to an organization called Adala, here to study the possibilities of French-Palestinian cooperation came to Artas accompanied by Rafe’ el Ja’abari of the Association d’Echanges Culturels Hebron-France and stayed overnight with Artas families. Aside from visiting the sites of the village, they got to sample the village cooking and to watch the Folklore Troupe rehearsing.

February 19, 2007 Boomchucka Circus Wows 600 Women and Children in Artas

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It was no ordinary Monday afternoon, the day the Boomchucka Circus came to town thanks to our our friends at the Cambden Abu Dis Friendship Association, to the delight of some 600 women and children from Artas and the surrounding area.

January 1, 2007 Establishment of Artas Heritage Club

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2007 started well for the females of Artas, thanks to the establishment of the Artas Heritage Club. Fifty five women and girls meet twice a week at the Artas Folklore Center to make traditional crafts and experiment with new ways of preserving their heritage. Aside from providing a much-needed outlet for girls in the village, it is also exposing them to the rich heritage of their village and opening their eyes to the possibilities it provides for income generation.

January 2007 Photos of the Artas Folklore Center’s Lettuce Festival made it to Chile thanks to Bethlehem 2000’s January issue of Al Damir magazine in a photo essay called Tradiciones con juventud “Traditions with Youth.” They can be seen on pages 26-29 of the magazine:

November 15, 2006 Fall Hike

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The rain chose to fall on the day of the eagerly awaited Fall Nature and Heritage Hike but a good number of hardy souls came to our rainy day alternative, which started at 11. It was especially cosy to sit on mats around the wood burning fire, with a welcoming pot of coffee, while learning about the village and the center. Over a homecooked meal, the participants got to know each other and us, and took their time shopping for embroidery and postcards before their tour of the museum. The skies had cleared enough by now for Abu Lutfi and other members of the troupe to dance and chant folk tales outdoors in front of the center.

October 21, 2006 Launch

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A few members of the Artas Folklore Troupe were present at the festivities of the launch which was held at the Bethlehem Peace Center on October 21, 2006. The launch included a photographic exhibition entitled Spirit of Sumud taken by founder James Prineas on his visit to Palestine last April to participate in the AEI-Open Windows International Educational Conference and the Artas Folklore Festival. The photos included shots of Artas and its people, Wadi Kelt, and the Wall around Bethlehem. Postcards of the images were available for sale. The new AEI-Open Windows brochures announcing Cultural Journeys into Palestine–including Artas–were on display as well. At the launch, was presented from different angles.

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Leyla Zuaiter demonstrated the Artas Folklore Center subsite and showed how cultural centers rich in material but short on resources could benefit from The guests were treated to some folklore and then invited to view the exhibit. Finally, those who had reserved continued their discussions over Iftar.

October 12, 2006 Artas Folklore Center Iftar

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On October 12, 2006, the Artas Folklore Center held a festive Ramadan Iftar for its friends, supporters, advisors, and partners, as well as other persons and institutions wishing to know more about the work of the Center. Our guesthouse and traditional Arab room, set in an old building complex in the heart of the village overlooking the Enclosed Garden, were overflowing with dignitaries, villagers and friends, old and new. The Center’s women’s group was particularly pleased to have this opportunity to offer traditional Artas hospitality from their brand new kitchen. After dinner, the Artas Folklore Troupe performed for guests. You can see some pictures of the preparations, food, meal and folklore beginning at:

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