Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nalut's Spring Festival - 2008

As soon as the kids got home from school last Thursday, we packed up the car and headed out to Nalut. Jenna, Ibrahim and Nora went with this year. Tara came along as well but left Friday afternoon.

We arrived feeling dusty and tired and were treated to dates, milk, buttermilk and ibsisa by the welcoming committee about midway up the mountain going into the town of Nalut.

This is Tara checking to see which sim card would work the best.

The festivities had begun earlier in the day and we felt bad about missing Thursday’s event but the festival would continue through Saturday. Abdulmenom, our friendly host from last year outdid himself with hospitality by letting us stay in his house. The Hilton has got nothing on Abdulmenom's house - It was fantastic! Tara and I decided to sleep upstairs on the roof under the night sky which was sparkling with zillions of stars The kids slept on the middle level of the house and Mustafa all the way downstairs on the lowest level.

In the morning we headed toward the Qasr and met up with two of Tara's friends who had driven out from Tripoli in the morning to spend the day. We toured the Qasr (the castle).

Inside are storage rooms that in the past were used to store grain, oil and other foodstuffs for the people of Nalut; each family having their own room.

The area just outside the Qasr was filled with people watching traditional musicians and many of the men and boys joined in dancing and singing.

Displays of traditional handicrafts and local foods and crafts were shown. The Tuareg's from last year were there and they were so happy to see their friend Tara that they gave her a handmade fan as a gift. The people of Nalut are Berber, or Amazigh as they prefer to be called, but the Tauregs come each year to participate in the festival.

Tara's fan. She kept calling it 'my fertility fan!' - please keep that away from me please.. lol

A barefoot boy riding a camel.

The media were out in force; not only local Libyan stations but also Aljazeera and Al-Hurra among other international news agencies.

This little girl is named Wa'ad which means Promise. She was very sweet and spoke English, having lived in Wales for nearly a year. Many of the people of Nalut have travelled abroad for their studies and we met many people who spoke English.

Wa'ad - Promise

As the morning progressed, the temperature rose accompanied by a strong dust-filled wind. Tara had brought along her mountain bike hoping to be able to ride but the weather had other ideas. We headed back to our lodging and Tara decided to head back to Tripoli. We had lunch and rested inside waiting for the cooler hours of the evening to go out again.

Nalut has one small hotel that was built during the Italian occupation of Libya.

We took the kids out for some ice-cream and then went to the underground houses that were set up with displays of traditional handicrafts and met up with Abdulmenom.

After a bit we went to a show of Libyan artwork, books, and historical documents and artifacts. I bought a coffee table book of Libyan artwork called 'Drawing from Libya' by Mohamed Hijji for 20 dinars.

Later we visited the display of geological findings from the area which had many kinds of rocks, fossils and information about the dinosaur bones that had been discovered just outside of town.

We came across a little girl named Narjes that we had met last year. She was so excited to see us and remembered all of our names. She told us to make sure to come the next morning to see her at the festival as she was going to be dressed in traditional Amazigh clothing.

Narjes with Jenna and Ibrahim.

The next morning (Saturday) we got up early and packed our things in the car and went to attend the last day of the festival. Last year the third day had been held below the Qasr but this year they decided to move it out of town in a flat open area.

At one time this area had been covered in a dense forest, evidence of this surrounds you as the ground is littered with petrified wood.

Tents were set up; each one showing a different aspect of traditional Nalut culture. Men sang traditional songs and recited Quran and poetry.

Women and girls showed various types of cooking skills and sang while they worked.

We found Narjes in a tent with woman grinding barley into flour using a traditional stone grinder.

It seemed only too soon and it was time to go home. The drive would take us between three or four hours depending on traffic.

Jenna and Ibrahim with Abdulmenom's children and neice and nephew.

Special thanks to Abdulmenom and his family for their wonderful hospitality and thanks to the festival committee for all the hard work they did to make the festival a success. We're looking forward to seeing you all again next year.

More links relating to the festival (in Arabic)are here:


  1. wow these photos are fantastic! mashaAllah. is that u and tara in the farashias? nice photos really!

  2. On april 26 the "RALLYE DE TUNISIE 2008" will have step on Nalut.
    i have visited Nalut but not in festival period. i confirm, the site is magnificent. but i thaugth that the native peapole of Nalut are Imazeghen not Touareg they still speak Imazeghen.
    Any way, thank you for this report KhadijaTeri. next year in Nalut perhap's.

  3. sounds you had so much fun,thanks for sharing these photos.
    I wish I could see Libyan artwork and I guess seeing those geological findings would be my husband's favorite part of the trip.

  4. KhadijaTeri at her best :o)

    fantastic as usual, I was so looking forward to this post and it has been worth the wait, thank you.

  5. wooow wonderful post Khadijateri like always..
    thanks so much

  6. "Each time you cover an event, your post itself becomes an event, Nalute fest is one of the main annual events in Libya, and khadijateri's post about it is the main annual event in the Libyan blogosphere"


  7. Hi Khadija

    Why you only took 2 pictures for black people and the rest were white people ughh I hate you

    Black person

  8. Thanks a lot for the pictures, it was really well-organized festival...everything was done by the locals but it’s expected to draw a lot of attention soon....

  9. Interesting, maybe I'll get to go next year. Always read your blog Khadija as we came across it. My name's Kaz living in Tripoli for a few years. Came here from UK just before my father in law died here in Trabulus.Asaylum alaykum to you and your family. Lovely children you have. My girl now speaks Arabic and English, and is a real libyan girl now. going into her fifth year in school here in Trabulus. Unfortunately my Arabic is minimal. I dont have TEFL certificate to teach English any ideas what I can do here as regards work. Hope you don't mind my asking. Would much appreciate it. I would like to teach English though. Regards Kaz.

  10. Beautiful as usual, thank you.

  11. Anonymous.... I think I did a pretty good job at getting a cross section of people represented at the festival. One day I may be lucky enough to go to Sebha and I will take lots and lots of pictures of black people. lol

    Kaz... CELTA is being offered at the British Council and the Cambridge centres offer TKT (Teacher Knowledge training) certification. You might want to check them out.

    Bugsbunny... I have amended my post - thanks for pointing it out. Sometimes I forget that others might not know. :)

  12. Simply ....."Wonderful"



  14. your Arabic is very good, im impressed :o)
    although they made a mistake by discribing you as an English blogger!

    (I watched the youtube video)

  15. Salam Khadijateri,
    Fabulous post---thanks for sharing.

  16. hi how are you I will visit you in you school soon and thanks for these pictuers that you had showen for nalut

  17. hi my name is haffed from nalut

  18. hi how are my name is haffed from nalut I would like to thank you for the pictuers that you had shown I will visit you to your school this week

  19. Your photo journal made me feel like I was right there with you experiencing everything! What fantastic photos and great commentary too - thanks so much! And by the way, your kids are gorgeous!

  20. Asalom Alai Kom,

    My friend sent me a link to your Blog. MashAllah it is really good. I live in Ireland, but en sha Allah will be moving to Misurata soon to get married, en sha Allah.

    So happy I was sent this blog. Thies festival looks great, en sha Allah I will go next year.

    Ma Saloma
    Khedegah Mc

  21. To Black person.

    I think she did a good job, and by the way Nalut has not got lots blacks.
    most are white.
    You should read her other plogs to understand that she is not a racest.


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