Maraya 2010 – Hamra Street Festival Inaguration and Parade!

Rue Hamra photo

Rue Hamra (image from festival's facebook page)

Living in Hamra has its perks.  Apart from being within walking distance to absolutely everything you need – grocery, pharmacy, tailor, carpenter, gym, shopping, pubs, and restaurants..the streets of Hamra occasionally play host to charming street festivals.

Yesteryday was the beginning of Maraya 2010 – Hamra street festival.  So..seeing that I live two minutes walk from Hamra main street, I thought it would be a great way to spend the afternoon.

Hamra streets festival

Maraya 2010 - Hamra streets festival

According to the festival organizers,

“Hamra Streets Festival – Maraya 2010, from September 10 to 12, 2009 is under the patronage of HE Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Hamra Street will be closed to cars from Friday afternoon till Sunday at Midnight. (when will they learn that Hamra is so much nicer as a pedestrian street!  One of the things I enjoy most about these festivals is being able to roam the streets without having to worry about getting knocked down by a taxi or teenager in his 350Z!)

It is a convivial and cultural festival, it’s aim is to exhibit the cultural and artistic diversity of Lebanon in general and Hamra Street in particular.

The festival has encompassed a vast number of activities and events that target all age groups.  Participation in the festival is flexible, and we have greatly encouraged amateur musicians , Artists and Free-lancers in all fields of the Arts..”

Sounds nice, right?  Well..I looked for the day’s program online..and yesterday was the Inaguration and Parade.  The festivities, which took place between 5:00pm – 7:45 pm (ahemm..more like 6:30 – 9:00 pm)  included:

Carnival Float (Char de Carnaval), Dancing Groups, Zaffee loubnaniyya, Harley Davidson Owners HOG, The Beirut Orchestra, University Clubs Parade, Firemen, Croix Rouge Libanaise, Fuel Tankers with donkeys (SAY WHAT?), Vegetable Chariots, Street Artists (Fire eater, stilt walker, etc…), Vintage Car etc…

So at 5:00 pm sharp, my roomate and I made our way down to Hamra main street, and decided to take a seat in the outdoor section of Napoletana.  Ideally we would have liked to sit outside of Caribou coffee, seeing that it is right on the street – but it was already full.  In retrospect, sitting behind a glass window probably wasn’t such a good idea, my photos suffered because of it..but at least I was comfortable, right?

I sat there, with my camera ready..anxious to catch the action.. when 25 horses ran by all with soldiers atop them waving Lebanese flags.  “Ok it’s starting,” I said to my roomate.

5 minutes passed by, then 10, then 15..and still NOTHING.  As was to be expected, the parade started late..But in the mean time..people began to crowd the streets, eager to get a good spot..Families, friends, lovers, and’s always great to see everyone together like also made me realize how much of a market there is for outdoor events and festivals in Lebanon..

“What’s going on, where is the parade?” I said to my friend..

And with that..a man dressed up as a giant chicken walked by..I’m assuming it had something to do with the theme of the festival itself…(which I still don’t understand btw..can someone please explain to me the chicken and the egg thing?)

Hamra streets festival

Maraya 2010 - Hamra street festival..

Who was the first to open the parade?..Well, none other than Miss Lebanon 2010, Rahaf Abdallah, of all her beauty queen splendor..the hair, the makeup, the sash, the princess wave..She looked happy being driven around in an old school VW buggie..seemingly oblivious to all of the negative hype that has been circulating on the Lebanese blogosphere around her..“Haram, I hope this girl never googles her name,” I thought to myself..

Hamra streets parade

Rahaf Abdallah - Miss Lebanon 2010 opened the parade..

And then came a congregation of..I don’t know what..clowns?  Whatever they were..they were having a great time..and succeeded in getting the crowd around them all hyped up..

Hamra streets parade

Clowns clowning around..

After the clowns, came the..umm..uhhh..fuel tank and donkey?  Yeah, can someone explain this one to me?  My friend and I didn’t really know what to make of it, especially since the donkey (which looked more like a small horse) looked as if it was about to buckle under the pressure of the tanker..poor thing..I think something was wrong with its hoof!

Anyway, after the tanker and its donkey/mini horse, came a procession of antique VWs, and other cars..some of them even looked like go-carts and bumper cars (but on wheels)..

Hamra streets parade

Boys and their toys..although I have to comment on the one girl who passed by in her buggie..she was so cute!

Next came the MEA float..ok, so I know that we aren’t in New York City,,and I know that this ain’t exactly the Macy”s Day Parade..but was it wrong of me to expect a little bit more from MEA and their float?

Hamra Streets Parade

MEA's float..

Anyway, after the MEA float..came a couple in a horse drawn carriage wearing traditional Lebanese costume, and a troop of dancers – which I really liked..their energy, their costumes, their music..easily one of the much so that I couldn’t snap a good photo..there were so many people crowded around them!

Hamra streets parade

When was the last time you went on a horse drawn carriage ride?

There was a break between the Lebanese dancers and what I considered the MAIN, I took this crowd shot:

Hamra streets festival

Crowd shot!


At first, you couldn’t see them..but you sure could hear them..the Harley Davidsons!!

As they approached where I was sitting, the revvvvvving from their engines got increasing louder,,the buildings in Hamra trapping in the beautiful sounds..the vibrations flooded my ears, my head, my adrenaline began to pump..

“I can only imagine what it feels like to ride one of those babies!  What a rush!” I thought to which point, both me and my roommate turned to each other and mouthed the word, “WOW!”

Hamra streets festival

Harley owners,,and their biker chicks..

Hamra streets festival

oooooooh aaaaaaahhh..WOW.

After the Harleys..came a capoiera troop, the AUB music club, the Lebanese girls/boy scouts.. and a Japanese inspired float – titled Japanese journey of creation – which one first place for best float and best parading group!  The float was a joint collaboration between students from 10 different universities who all share a passion and a love of Japanese culture..congrats guys!  Check out their facebook page by clicking here!

Hamra Street Festival

Japanese float - Hamra street festival..LOVING the hair!

photo credit

Hamra Street Festival

Japanese Journey of Creation at the Hamra Street Festival

photo taken from group’s facebook page.

After the parade was over, my roommate and I settled our bill and made our way from Napoletana onto the streets, where we blended into the crowd and took a stroll up and down Hamra main street.  At around 8:30 a beautiful fireworks show lit up the night sky..the perfect way to end the first day of the Maraya 2010 Hamra street festival..

All in all, I think the inaguration and the parade was a smashing success.  And one thing is for sure..

Hamra streets festival

We all LOVE Hamra.

I can’t wait to see what the weekend has in store! 🙂



Filed under life in Lebanon

23 responses to “Maraya 2010 – Hamra Street Festival Inaguration and Parade!

  1. Dar El Akhdar

    Awesome post Dani!
    Thanks for reviving the inaugural day for all of us!

    You know the famous saying “which came first – the chicken or the egg?”

    Well in Arabic it’s said like this: “meen eja abel – el bayda aw el djejeh” And the word “bayda” means both egg AND white in Arabic

    And since Hamra means “red” in Arabic…

    (drumroll please…)

    The famed question now becomes: “which came first – el HAMRA aw el djejeh”

    (pause for applause)

    And today will be a blast with all the stands set in place!

  2. Pingback: Maraya 2010 – Hamra Street Festival Inaguration and Parade! | The Unofficial Hamra Street Festival

  3. Great to watch the #HamraFest with you. I so wish I was there. Enjoy the rest of the festival and I hope I can share today and tomorrow too 🙂

  4. Lindsay

    I had the exact same thoughts about the MEA float! Loved the parade though!

  5. great post!
    looking forward for reading your posts for the remaining two days 😉

  6. Great post, i’ve only been on saturday n quite late. I missed everything. It was great tough to be able to walk in hamra without being hassled.

  7. The Japanese float does NOT belong to a restaurant!
    this idea came from students who worked hard to bring it to life, the fliers we were distributing belong to some of the sponsors, anyway we wished that you had some pictures displayed! we already posted them on the festival official page!
    we constitute about 10 different universities in Lebanon, and we simply love japan, we hope you enjoyed our show on the float!!

  8. lola

    hey there, the japanese float was made by students who shared their love for the japanese culture i was one of the geisha girls so there is no restaurant hahaha 😀 great article though, didn’t know what went by before us

  9. walid

    Hello all,
    Its true the Japanese float was made by students from over 10 different universities, you can find the pictures displayed at hamra street festival official FB page!

    • walid

      the students were distributing fliers for many sponsors who helped out in a way or another, the resto was one of them (^_^;)
      …anyway the float was called the Japanese journey of creation, we wish that you have enjoyed it or at least posted some photos of the float?!

  10. woooooow im impresssed it will be on my list of cities to visit

  11. walid

    one last comment :$
    it is important to mention that the following “Carnival Float (Char de Carnaval), Dancing Groups, Zaffee loubnaniyya, Harley Davidson Owners HOG, The Beirut Orchestra, University Clubs Parade, Firemen, Croix Rouge Libanaise, Fuel Tankers with donkeys (SAY WHAT?), Vegetable Chariots, Street Artists (Fire eater, stilt walker, etc…), Vintage Car etc…”
    were competing against each other for the best parading group and the Japanese float won FIRST PLACE!!!… :D:D:D
    PS: plz if the text is editable…it is very important for us that the part that says that we belong to a resto to be edited!!
    Thankx a lot peace out!! (^_^)v

  12. lola

    Thanks for the email and update 😀 keep up the good work!!

  13. Dunia

    Lol my cousin was one of the kimono girls didn’t get to see her though hehehe the festival looks awesome!

  14. hi I was luck to discover your Topics in yahoo
    your topic is exceptional
    I learn much in your topic really thanks very much
    btw the theme of you blog is really quality
    where can find it

  15. Pingback: Lebanese blogosphere weekly link roundup (2010/09/12) | +961

  16. Maraya 2010 – Hamra Street Festival Inaguration and Parade! | This is Beirut I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re incredible! Thanks! your article about Maraya 2010 – Hamra Street Festival Inaguration and Parade! | This is Beirut Best Regards Justin Andy

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