ALCASA and its members were fortunate to be able to hold a stall at the 2014 Laziza Mediterranean Festival on Saturday 11th January at Rymill Park in the Adelaide CBD.  On a scorching hot day hundreds of fans braved the weather to enjoy a celebration of music, dance, food and culture from a broad variety or regions across the Mediterranean.  Once again ALCASA members did themselves proud in organising a beautifully decorated stall and one that offered a range of activities for the wide variety of people that attended the Festival.

FoodDemo    AlcasaStand(outside)    StandDecoration

ALCASA’s aims mirror those of the Laziza Festival’s: to promote the awareness and appreciation of different cultures, and through experience, educate people of the imBodyPaintportance of tolerance and respect for all people.  Most of our activities at the Festival were targeted towards children, as they had the opportunity to learn about the art of mosaics and learn the basics of the Arabic alphabet through an interactive treasure hunt quiz and writing their name in Arabic. Sadly the heat did keep many of the younger ones away and we are still hoping to encourage young families to contact us and consider participating in our monthly kids activities.

It is well documented that a child’s development is receptive to learning a new language and that their cognitive development can be enhanced through the acquisition of a second language.  But it is never too late to learn! Many of our members, who come from a range of Arabic and non-Arabic backgrounds, enjoyed talking to the visitors to our stall and listening to their experiences of Arabic and of their cultural background and history. It was surprising the number of Australians, young and old, who spoke with interest about their Arabic heritage and who were also enthusiastic about learning their mother tongue. We encourage all those who would like to explore further their family connection to the Arabic language and culture, and to any South Australians with a passionate interest in learning more about the Arabic language and culture, to come along to one of our monthly conversation sessions and cultural demonstrations.

The Laziza Festival was an excellent opportunity for our members to strengthen their connections with one another, as well as reach out to the broader community.  What a pleasant day to spend listening to the rhythmic sounds of the musicians and dancers and feasting on the flavours of the Mediterranean. Congratulations to the Festival organisers and sponsors for putting on an amazing event, and also to the ALCASA members for their dedication and commitment to success.

ana   Fa_Hm_Mariam   walaykumassalam

Hassan Mekawy

(Photos courtesy of Ahmed Al Khalidi & Richard Milosh)