Spring's Festivals

On April 4th, according to the Eastern calendar and when Spring adorns nature with wonderful green plants and colorful flowers, popular celebrations are held in different areas of the country. These celebrations, according to researchers, dated back to the myth of Adonis and "Fourth Day", as it is called in the Syrian coastal region.  According to the normal calendar, Fourth day coincides with the 17th of April which means  that the occasion becomes two. The first one celebrates the charming nature, while the second  celebrates the Evacuation Day.

Back to what is known as the "Fourth of Nisan", it is said that the celebration lasts for four days where people meet every day in a recently specified place such as: Salhab, Sheikh Osman and Abu Qubeis areas. It is actually a geographical festival rather  than a religious occasion.

 A number of Arab countries such as Lebanon and Egypt also celebrate the 4th Day of April. In Lebanon. It is called al-Zouhourieh, in an indication to the primroses of the Spring. 

Marking the Day, people sing and dance happily accompanied with the tune of the reed and the rhythm of the drum. .

These celebrations are also held in the northern city of Hama. It is worth mentioning that people celebrate a number of occasions in April such as St George's Day which is celebrated on April 23.

On 21st of April, according to some researchers, festivals used to be held to celebrate Zeus Cassius the god of countryside and the protector of cattle and herdsmen. It was also the anniversary of founding Rome and the celebration day of god Baal on Safon Mount which is currently called al-Aqrah Mount.

April celebrations mean for both adults and children an appointment with joy, pleasure and fun. They represent every region's heritage, customs and traditions. The Syrian coastal area increases its celebrations in this month. Some of them are periodical religious celebrations. The others are influenced  by old habits and have nothing to do with religion.

The " Fourth" festival, means the fourth day of April according to the Eastern calendar, which is similar, to a large extent, to  Easter, where people welcome Spring  with joy and hope. The" Fourth" occasion flourished in the Syrian coastal villages after the evacuation of the French colonialism in the seventeenth of April according to the Western calendar, which falls on the fourth of April according to the Eastern calendar.

At the mid of the fifties and sixties of last century the Syrian coastal countryside used to receive the Fourth" holiday in a special way that distinguished them from other regions."

Each group of villages used to choose a suitable place to mark the occasion where they set up swings for children and held stages for Dabkeh, dance and singing folkloric songs.

Kids, young people and even students from other villages eagerly use to wait for the feast in order to play the hammocks. Those who want to marry go to participate in the event, since the Fourth was a good opportunity to meet young girls, speak to them and even share a dance with beautiful girls. If a young man fell in love with one of the girls, he would ask about her village and her family. The next day he came with his father to engage her.

Interestingly, the joy of the feast has attracted in the recent years a large number of young men and girls to participate in the celebration and they are still waiting eagerly for the occasion to come .

Amal Farhat