Bethlehem Cultural Festival Comes to Glasgow and London this December

Early this December, the arts, culture and heritage of Palestine and the Mediterranean will take centre stage in this year’s Bethlehem Cultural Festival with live events in London and Glasgow as well as an online programme for global audiences.

Through discussion, food, heritage, dance, film, theatre and music, the Bethlehem Cultural Festival puts the rich historic culture and artistic output of the region centre stage. Launched in December 2020, it shows a region thriving with positive energy and creativity, continuing the long heritage of many generations bringing together celebrated artists, renowned expert speakers and cultural leaders for four days of  celebration.

Opening in London on 2nd and 3rd December, there is a packed programme that includes renowned Palestinian chef Fadi Kattan discussing Palestinian food and heritage with food writer Xanthe Clay and Sam Clark from Moro; writer Christiane Dabdoub Nasser on the unrelenting construction of borders; a new commission from Nay flute player Fais Ishaq; a talk on the wines of Palestine and Lebanon; Hawwiya Dance Company’s interwoven narratives of identity, displacement and resistance; Ahmed Najar and Ashraf Afifi’s play A Person Can Only Be Born in One Place;and the Galilee Quartet.

On 4th and 5th December, the Festival moves to Glasgow, that not only has long-established links with Palestine but is twinned with Bethlehem. Festival venues are Glasgow Cathedral, the Centre for Contemporary Arts and Glasgow City Chambers where the programme includes co-ordinated tree lighting in Manger Square, Bethlehem and Glasgow Cathedral; a film of skateboarding in Palestine; a discussion on women running the Bethlehem marathon; Palestinian alternative rock band Mafar; screenings and discussions from film-makers in Glasgow and Palestine and how film-making can bring hope; writer Christiane Daddoub Nasser on political ruptures; and Nay flute player Faris Ishaq who travels from London to Glasgow to bring the festival to a close.

One of the Festival’s UK founders, Melissa Scott says “As much of the world’s thoughts turn to Christmas, the Bethlehem Cultural Festival team is bringing a diverse range of cultural events from Palestine and the Mediterranean to an international audience. We provide a platform for artists across the world to connect and work together to find common ground through their work and through panel discussions to address key issues that cultural practitioners face in their work. We are building on the rich cultural heritage that this region has always had throughout the centuries, and try to go some way to remind the world of the positive cultural work being done on the ground every day.”

For more information on Bethlehem Cultural Festival, please visit the website at

Irene Brown

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