Entertainment: Souk Al-Hamidiyah - Pistachio Booza and More

The perfect finish of our third Celebrating Syria Festival: lively afternoon of Syrian tradition and culture!

Souk Al-Hamidiyah was the final activity in Celebrating Syria Festival 2019. It took place on 9 November 2019 in Birch Community Centre. Named after the famous souk in Damascus, Souk Al-Hamidiyah Day was meant to be a day for family entertainment with damascene flavour.

Despite living in exile, we recreated one of our best desserts, Booza! (the Syrian traditional ice cream). One of the main tourist attractions in Souk Al-Hamidiyeh in Old Damascus, the stretchy and chewy ice cream from the Levant.


Sahlab (ground orchid root) and mastic (a resin) are traditionally added with milk, cream, and sugar to a freezer drum. Instead of being churned, the mixture is then alternately pounded with a three-foot-long wooden pestle and stretched by hand, activating the ingredients and working out all the air to achieve booza’s signature creamy elastic consistency.


It is not just about booza and sahlab! We end Celebrating Syria Festival with arts workshops, live music and dance, poetry, food, maté tea, Arabic coffee, and a Syrian quiz! This is the Syrian life!

People enjoyed traditional Syrian food and sweets, tasted the famous Syrian pistachio ice cream, and Arabic coffee and shopped the various Syrian products. The Syrian spirit went all over the place as the visitors stepped in to learn the Dabkeh "a traditional dance in Syria" and danced along with the Syrians to the melodies of Syrian traditional songs.

Rethink Rebuild Society (RR) is a Manchester-based charity that works towards improving the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in the UK, in particular but not exclusively Syrians, helping them become positively established within British society.

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