The Lebanese National Tabbouleh Day
Saturday July 4, 2015
The Lebanese National Tabbouleh Day is a yearly festivity day dedicated to Tabbouleh. It is celebrated the first Saturday of the month of July. During this day, Lebanese, non-Lebanese, and their friends everywhere in the world meet in private or in public around this traditional Lebanese dish. It’s a cultural, gastronomic and touristy feast related to humanity and peace in Lebanon and in the world.
Examples of celebration places in 2015
- The Biennale de Paris – France (Contact: Alexandre Gurita email@example.com)
- Souk el Tayyeb – Beirut Downtown – Lebanon (Contact: Kamal Mouzawak +961 3 340198 / Ricardo Mbarkho +961 3 717703)
The signification of Tabbouleh
The Tabbouleh can be considered as a “unifying” dish, in a country like Lebanon torn by tensions, and as a "symbolic" dish by the diversity of its ingredients, as the image of the Lebanese population. Like this latter, his delicate harmony is threatened anytime one of its components is discarded or even 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... It is the snowball that 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 gathering 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 a museum promoting the Celebration Art”, says Ricardo Mbarkho.
Artistic process by Ricardo Mbarkho
My artistic 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 reduced to be around the 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 day 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.
Ricardo Mbarkho - Artist, Initiator of the Lebanese National Tabbouleh Day.
Born in Beirut in 1974, Ricardo Mbarkho is an artist and lecturer living in Lebanon. He teaches fine arts at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (University of Balamand) and at the Lebanese University in Beirut. His work is affiliated to post-conceptual and post-immaterial art practices, where he investigates multiple questions related to language, communication, and creative industries issues within the socio-political sphere. His work is presented in several festivals and exhibitions in Lebanon and abroad. Ricardo Mbarkho received his Art Diplomas from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and Ecole Supérieure d’Etudes Cinématographiques, Paris, and from Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts, Beirut. He also completed an exchange study program at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.