Al-Hakawati: Folklore and tradition from the past

Damascus, SANA – Storyteller (al-Hakawati) and poetry reciter have a long history in Damascus. This type of performing art was part of its culture and its cafes long time ago.

It was very popular and part of the Damascene folklore for entertainment and deepening moral values and exemplary behavior through the stories of heroes in the folk heritage.

Despite the fact that the phenomenon of al-Hakawati declined in the daily life of Damascenes, but some people are still keen to visit some of the cafes that have preserved this heritage as a tradition from the past.

This month, al-Hakawati is part of Ramadan in a night entertainment at al-Nofara, the 500-year-old café located in the old city of Damascus, which still keeps this tradition alive.

Abu-Sami is a Syrian storyteller “Hakawati.” He performs here at the Al-Nofaraa, sits in the center of the café and wears his traditional Damascene clothes with a small sword in his hand to thrill his listeners.

Most of his stories often feature a historical or fantasy characters and events; stories of people doing good deeds where reality is mixed with fiction.

Abu Sami told SANA’s correspondent proudly that not anyone could be a storyteller; it requires rhetoric, fluency, narrative skills, and the ability to capture the audience’s attention and engage them through the process of narrating the story.

A number of customers in the café asserted that al-Hakawati has his own spirit and distinct amusement they couldn’t find in the social media.

According to them, the era of TV and social media doesn’t reflect the beauty and the grandeur of the past and al-Hakawati tells his story with relish in a way that mirrors the heritage of the past.

Emma /Manal

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