Council of Ukrainian Muslims

«And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah, and be not divided among yourselv» (Quran, 3:103)

EAST FEST 2016 — East is closer than you think!

15.05.2016 / 1137
Impressions, eyes, smiles, faces, paints, music, live sound of the Crimean Tatar national instruments, smells of coffee, kitchen herbs and spices, amazing jewelry, sets of gems, framed in silver, gold embroidery on silk and velvet, flowing fabrics of  national clothing, gourmet spices and oils.
Intricate beautiful ornament engraved on chased silver and copper vessels,  the drinking bowls made of finest porcelain with painted pattern; such terrestrial and placatory, warm flesh of the ceramic masterpieces …
The trays attracted with oriental delicacies: dainty sweets and amber rice, softest kheer and razgulya, gulaab jamun, samosa and manti – so it is impossible to list all the abundance of presented on the stands and shelves during the East Fest 2016 annual festival eastern dishes, which are exotic because of not only its names, but also its new tastes for Ukrainians!
The women from the Embassy of Indonesia prepared by themselves the treats for the guests of the festival – the traditional sweets and cakes, colorful crepes filled with tropical fruits – which made the visitors to linger at the stand of this country for a long time.
Leniye Ibragimova, Crimean Tatar designer, whose products are known under the brand name “Busurmanka Leniye”, amazed the visitors once again by elaborate gold and silver embroidery of Koran’s covers, robes, fezzes and tubeteikas, interior items and accessories.
The canvases with landscapes and still lifes by Crimean painter, Serhii Karabelnykov,  pleased not only the eyes in antithetical sense but also the soul— as the native views of the peninsula, which were so dear to heart, returned it to its home – to Ukraine.
And next to it, there was a painted pottery by Crimean Tatar masters, which was introduced by the masters of the art salon "Sandyk" ( “Chest” in translation ), established due to the efforts of El-ChebEr creative studio. Co-owner of the creative workshop, Erfan Kudusov, brought the exclusive works of famous Crimean Tatar masters to the festival, of both the masters, who migrated to Kyiv and those who remained in the occupied Crimea and sent their works to the capital of Ukraine.
Jewelry and all kinds of embroidered or woven bags, the handmade by Afghan and Pakistani artists, were represented at the festival by Pakistani, Shah Amjad Ali, who, according to his words, was the author of the many designs of the jewelry introduced there.
Diallo Issa Sadio, who was responsible for the stand of the African Council in Ukraine, told about the crafts and folk trades of the African nations professing Islam, and invited to taste Ethiopian coffee.  Was it possible to decline the invitation and not to enjoy the drink of the country, where the first Muslims, persecuted in their homeland, had sought refuge in ancient times?
Well, after coffee – back to the sweets once again! The halal sweets of the confectionery «Burfi Land», cordially offered by Alesya, who had cooked it herself, also were highly appreciated by the guests-testers!
And how much the fancy of sweets regretted that they hadn’t left free place in their stomachs for the treats made by the master of Uzbek cuisine, Abdulaziz Makhmudov! He served open-handedly plates with mountings of rice, every grain of which radiated the sunlight, with melting in mouth pieces of meat, and all of that were — with coral inclusion of carrots and inexplicably attractive smells of spices! And what about giant juicy manti — how could you not to taste that?
And next is  Pakistani Amir Avvak, serving traditional samosa, pakora, kheer, razgulya and gulaab jamun — and also it is impossible to resist and not to taste a bit of everything. Thank God there is a drink to take after all of that — Algerian Mustafa Benlahear has already prepared green tea ...
And once more there are oils and fragrances, and the healing Costus – thank you, Rasul Akhmedbekov that you did not forget to bring all this magnificence to the guests of the festival!
But not only the music, foods and a stunning variety of products of decorative and applied arts were the reason that there were so many guests in the Islamic Cultural center of Kyiv on Saturday, May 14th. The program of the fest was not limited itself with the fair and the tasting. First of all, the festival is an opportunity to learn something new, to expand the horizons of your knowledge about the world, get to know and better understand the representatives of another culture, tradition and religion.
Of course, the organizers of the festival, members of social organizations, which are the units of AUASO "Alraid", saw to that the guests could if not completely quench the thirst for knowledge, but at least find a way to its source: the lectures and the familiarization talks, the photo exhibition and film screening helped visitors to learn a lot of new information. In particular, Tarik Sarhan’s lecture aroused the great interest, he told about the history of the Arabic language and its influence on Eastern culture; also the guests learnt about the features of Muslim marriage. There were also the lecture on the art of the Islamic civilization and the lecture about the history of Islam in Ukraine – during the latter, many of those present were surprised to learn that Islam was not a guest in our country. The lecture on the peculiarities of the Islamic religion risked take more longer than planned because of the numerous questions from audience.
Watching the movie on indigenous populations of Ukraine, followed by discussion, as well as the photo exhibition of works by Anna Korbut "The Face of Islam" also drew the attention of the guests of the festival.
The workshops on the preparation of Arab bread and Ethiopian coffee – how can you ignore the opportunity to enrich the skills of culinary art? And what about mehndi, henna designs? Girls, who not only demonstrated this kind of art, but also applied the laces of thet raditional patterns on the hands of all women, who wanted, had to work hard that day: the queue was not reduced till the evening!
Also there were many people who wanted to learn not only what the hijab was, but also to learn how to tie a scarf on the head in a traditional manner. For a wonder, a lot of non-Muslim girls, after covered their head, admitted that they felt themselves transfigured not only externally but also internally: one of the guests of the festival said that she felt herself more womanly, and her friend recalled that she hadn’t been to the temple for a long time.
Children also had something to do:  cultural, entertainment and sport programs had been prepared specially for them: competitions and mini-quests. So the arm-wrestling tournament and contests in archery found its contestants.
All day long went like this! 
Those, who helped to prepare this fest, who took part in it and who gave the festival’s guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the East - don't be offended at the author of the article, that she did not mention some of you. It is simply impossible:  there were so many faces, names, and so many exhibits and products offered at the stands and the shelves, but each of you deserves respect and gratitude!
... Well, how could the weather compete, by sending rain on Saturday, May 14, with such attractive opportunities? The moisture only emphasized the brightness of colours, in the pure air the smell of coffee was sharply felt, exuded from the coffee pots, and the smell of freshly baked bread evoked associations with mother’s hands, tranquility and security...


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