After six months of Hello Preston!’s family-learning project, a celebratory Cultural Evening and Dinner was held on Monday 8th May.

Selection of traditional Syrian cuisine

Syrian families were encouraged to bring home made dishes and they brought abundant varieties to feed a crowd of eighty: falafel, red tabbouleh (pomegrante and herb salad), jeddara, dhaal (lentils), baba ghanouj (aubergine dip), hummous, mohammata (chilli dip), beetroot dip, stuffed vine leaves, kibbeh (Leventine dish with bulgar wheat and onions), pizzas, samosas… Others brought semolina cakes, pies, pastries, tarts, meringue… Not only this, but regular Talk English volunteers affiliated to Red Cross Drop In Centre for asylum seekers attended armed with an array of dishes. Our regular and committed volunteers at Hello Preston! brought homemade sushi and hummous to compete with the Syrians!

 

The enormous buffet was devoured and later guests relaxed to enjoy some poetry, guitar music with vocal harmonies from duo Porter and May, (one-half of the illustrator of Preston City of Sanctuary logo, Hannah Cobb) and guitarist Felicity Moore.

The crèche ran as usual with experienced Hello Preston! volunteers leading Pass the Parcel and other party games.

The evening ended with a lively Happy Birthday song for Arabic interpreter Faten and culminated with four enthusiastic young Syrian men dancing a traditional Bedouin ‘dabke’ with Arabic keyboard.

Because of the popularity and success of the event, Hello Preston! is offering to conduct a series of Arabic cooking classes. A Kurdish dance and music party will be planned in due course. Please contact Jen through the City of Sanctuary for more information.

Children’s Party Games

Traditional Syrian ‘dabke’ dance