Egyptian culture was celebrated with food, crafts and entertainment in Columbus.
The 19th annual Egyptian Festival took place at the St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church last weekend.
Egyptian food, traditional jewelry, detailed tours of the church, raffles and children’s games helped immerse attendees in a positive spirit of Egypt.
The festival, which ran Friday through Sunday, came to life after a year of planning.
“At the beginning of the year, we meet maybe once a month, then as the festival gets closer, it starts getting faster,” said Martine Saad, a second-year student at Columbus State and member of the festival committee.
A diverse crowd of people chatted happily while chowing down on traditional Egyptian food, such as shish kabob, stuffed grape leaves and hummus and pita.
The festival came at a pivotal time, as citizens of Egypt are experiencing the aftermath of the July 3 overthrow of the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi. The military coup sparked numerous uprisings, leaving Egypt in unrest.
Second-year in neuroscience and committee festival member Jasmyn Atalla said the festival is a way of reminding everyone of the positive aspects of Egypt.
“We have hope for a better future,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to show the community what we have to offer in the culture of Egypt. Not all Egyptians are radicals, and the majority of us really want peace.”
A lot of the money raised at the festival from the sales of food, raffle tickets and merchandise will be used to aid the native people back in Egypt. A representative from the Egyptian Festival said the amount raised from the festival has not yet been determined.
“Some money goes back to the church. We also donate to the community. Due to the uprisings happening, more money will be going back to Egypt than usual,” Saad said.
Susan and William Walsh, a retired couple from Columbus, attended the festival for the first time Friday night after seeing a poster at local restaurant Lavash Cafe.
“There is good food, good people, lovely jewelry. It’s a very positive experience,” William Walsh said. “It’s refreshing to see such happy people with a strong community of support.”
“We would definitely come back,” said Susan Walsh. “We spent the whole evening (here).”