The festival was initiated to promote tolerance and mutual respect among religions in the city through art and culture. Every year tens of  thousands of visitors come to take part in the colorful and joyful street celebration.

Celebrating 20 years of co-existence in Haifa

 

Copyright: Haifa Municipality

The Holiday of Holidays Festival in Haifa is celebrating its 20th anniversary with hundreds of cultural events – art, music and dance, as well as fairs, conferences and food during four weekends in December. The stormy weekend that brought snow to Israel and the region did not spoil the celebration, which is spread over four consecutive weekends in December at the Beit Hagefen Arab Jewish Center, the Wadi Nisnas Jewish-Arab neighborhood, and the German Colony in downtown Haifa.

The Beit Hagefen Arab Jewish Center and the Haifa Municipality initiated the festival in order to promote tolerance and mutual respect among religions in the city through art and culture. Every year tens of  thousands of visitors come to take part in the colorful and joyful street celebration that combines art, music, theater, children’s shows, fairs, conferences, concerts and outdoor events and fine Mediterranean cuisine.

The Holiday of Holidays Festival is a tradition that, winter after winter, decks Haifa in holiday attire, highlighting its unique feature – good neighborly relations among all faiths and communities in the city.

Celebrating 20 years of co-existence in Haifa

  Streets are filled during Holiday of Holidays Festival
  Copyright: Haifa Municipality

This year, in honor of the 20th anniversary, it was decided to updgrade the festival website, documenting all the artists and works that created the mosaic of the Holiday of Holidays over the years.

At the issuing of a stamp dedicated to the festival, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav said: "The Holiday of Holidays is the only holiday ever invented by a city, in which real peace has reigned between all segments of the population for 110 years." Noting its longstanding tradition​​, Mayor Yahav said, "Haifa is a city of peace. This tradition was laid down by Hassan Shukri, the first mayor of Haifa, nearly a century ago. He was a brave man and a great leader. Those celebrating with us identify with the peace and the way of life which for us are so natural. I only ask myself, where did we go wrong? Why haven’t we managed to spread this way of life, the way of peace, throughout the Middle East? "

Among the main festival events:

Haifa Art is an event of exhibition openings, performances, artist studios, encounters, and lectures at galleries, museums, alternative spaces, and bars around the lower city, including the German Colony, the Turkish market and the port area.

Museum Without Walls – The Art Route in the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood serves as an open art venue that incorporates changing exhibitions and a permanent display of artworks. It was one of the first venues that held joint exhibitions of prominent and emerging Arab Palestinian and Jewish artists on a regular basis. Over the years it featured some 800 works and 500 artists – 100 of whom exhibited several times. Today the permanent display in the Wadi encompasses 60 works, some of which will remain in place and some will be replaced by new artwork.

Celebrating 20 years of co-existence in Haifa

  Copyright: Haifa Municipality/Zvika Roger

"In Between" – This exhibition, displayed at the Beit Hagefen Gallery, Haifa Municipal Museum, Wadi Nissnas, and the art and culture center in Nazareth, expresses the concept of transition from one thing to another. The works featured invite clashes, produce paradoxical states, and push the boundaries to their limits, with the purpose of challenging the values that establish the sociol-cultural structure in which we live.

Beit Hagefen held a conference dealing with cultural planning in mixed cities in Israel: the dilemmas, challenges and solutions faced by cultural managers in cities with at least two ethnic groups which differ in language or religion.

Every year, the festival features liturgical and chamber music concerts, fairs with dozens of stalls displaying antiques, ornaments, furniture, silverware, Judaica, jewelry, pictures, carpets and more.

Celebrating 20 years of co-existence in Haifa

  Copyright: Haifa Municipality/Zvika Roger

Every Saturday outdoor performances are held on the main stage in Wadi Nisnas, including ethnic music that connects East and West, old and new. During the festival, guided tours are offered in Wadi Nisnas and galleries in the city, the Bahai gardens, the German Colony, and the new downtown designers’ complex.

For children, there are creative workshops and special performances, including the Young Arab-Jewish Orchestra, the Bangoura African Drums and Dance group, as well as a wide variety of theater, dance, acrobatic and street performances. On Saturday afternoons there is also a Christmas parade with Santa Claus.

Celebrating 20 years of co-existence in Haifa

  Copyright: Haifa Municipality