Lebanese National Tabbouleh Day is a yearly festivity day dedicated to Tabbouleh. Since 2001, it is celebrated the first Saturday of the month of July. On this day, both Lebanese and non-Lebanese alike, all over the world meet in their homes or in public around this traditional Lebanese dish. It’s a cultural, gastronomic and touristic feast related to humanity and peace in Lebanon and in the world.
The Tabbouleh is considered a « unifying » dish, in a country like Lebanon torn by tensions, and as a « symbolic » dish by the diversity of its ingredients – representative of the Lebanese population. As such, this delicate harmony is compromised anytime one of its components is discarded or neglected.
In 2001, the Lebanese visual artist Ricardo Mbarkho has decided unilaterally that a new celebration would be the National Tabbouleh Day.
On Wednesday April 4, 2001, he sends from France an email to Allam Sleiman (computer programmer, Lebanese, in Lebanon) telling him about the idea of initiating a National Tabbouleh Day where the Lebanese and their friends will celebrate a common identification that links them together: the Tabbouleh.Two days later, on Friday April 6, 2001, during a chat session on the Internet between Ricardo and Allam, they wrote the first communiqué fixing this new celebration for every first Saturday of the month of July. Right after, about 20000 Lebanese were informed by email and are invited to transfer the message everywhere to the world...
The snowball starts! The Lebanese and foreign press mobilizes with articles announcing the news. The Biennial of Paris presents the editions of the National Tabbouleh Day since 2006. The Lebanese Ministry of Tourism officially gives its approval and its patronage for this new Day. Private and public gatherings took place in Lebanon and abroad! The National Tabbouleh Day is henceforth a giant celebration for the whole humanity, and particularly for the Lebanese!
« Each house taking part in this national day transforms into an art gallery promoting the Celebration Art », says Ricardo Mbarkho.
My art practice is fully integrated in its social context because it is the reflection of a war-ridden country called Lebanon.
The war in Lebanon has taken its toll on our lifestyle, therefore, I wanted to raise awareness to the importance of life manifested and focused years ago through my project: The Lebanese National Tabbouleh Day. It is a Holiday that I have created to gather all the Lebanese people (and friends) around a traditional dish, which is: Tabbouleh; in order to show and strengthen our attachment to life. It is an opportunity for all of us, citizens of the world. This day comes yearly, on the 1st Saturday of July. How do we celebrate this day? The idea is not necessarily to be around the biggest dish of Tabbouleh and eat it, but to be together at this specific day at the same time anywhere on earth (in Lebanon or abroad) to celebrate life.
We encourage all the Lebanese (and friends) to consider the 1st Saturday of July a holiday where all family and friends meet to honor our survival, which became a valuable quality through many years of struggling. Keep in mind that the purpose of this event is to raise awareness around the value of life as is, regardless of our origins, family, personal or social conditions.