September 24, 2016

Today I attended the Lebanese Heritage and Food Festival, and this has been my favorite international event thus far. The event ran all day, from morning to night, allowing people to freely come and go. I arrived around 5pm and did not expect to stay too long, but I ended up staying until the end of the event. I experienced many tasteful, traditional Lebanese dishes such as hummus, falafel, and shawarma sandwiches. For the first time, I actually had hummus made by hand, not pre-packaged from the grocery store, and that made all the difference. The best part of the event was seeing a great turnout from all age groups, young and old. There truly was something to do for everyone there. While the older folk conversed Lebanese and Middle-Eastern politics over some tea and baklava, their kids had fun with arts and crafts. I particularly enjoyed the books that were for sale. Although most were religious in context, I was able to find one about business in Lebanon published by the American University of Beirut. I was fascinated to be able to read and even understand some of the book because of my Beginning Arabic class. Some text was even in English so even though I did not understand it fully, I was able to get a general understanding of each topic. The night ended with loud Lebanese music that everyone seemed to enjoy, especially the passionate dancers in the crowd. I even observed a style of dancing among many of the older Lebanese women which I’m not sure if it was the specific genre of music played or if it was just a cultural way of dancing, but it was still interesting to see to say the least! I really loved being able to go to this event and feel as if I am a part of the Lebanese community.

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