What remains for us … for the narrator, the box, the shadow imagination and the distant return

The voice of the narrator, Abu Shadi, sparked applause from the audience at the Al-Nawfara cafe in Old Damascus, after being struck by his sword on an iron table placed in front of him during the narration of one of Antara’s stories. bin Shaddad and his heroism, and amid the white smoke that wafted through the country’s atmosphere, coming out of the hookahs of the old cafe, soon everyone turned to their cell phones and light panels after spending hours reviving a tradition used by the people. to be revived decades and decades ago, and at the time it was one of the features of the life of Damascus people living without television, telephone or even electricity.

One of the pioneers of the café said: “After the evening prayer and iftar, the men would come here and gather around the owner of the red religion who is at the head of the country, and they would listen to him with their passion and immersion. in the story it has reached the point of excitement and anger when the hero falls from the horse, or falls captive into the hands of the enemies, or they resound with joy, and the cheers and expressions of flattery rise after he wins.

Fun in fasting

The Syrians knew many forms of entertainment and fun during the long hours of fasting, although men had their jobs and places of entertainment like cafes, and women had their sessions to talk about cooking and to talk about household measures like sewing, knitting. and other household chores, children at this time had their own private toys, which has become a popular heritage, after the fall of its era forever.

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Eighty-year-old uncle Radwan al-Tajir claims that Ramadan entertainment habits are not the same as before. “Everything has changed.” And he added, “I remember how often we spent the day fasting playing games. We do not see them today in the children of this generation. Games and entertainment in our time were based on activity and strengthened our love for memorization and stimulated the imagination.” , and today the most popular are just electronic games. “

On the other hand, a young man in his forties, shows that not so long ago, Ramadan games depended on hand games, prevalent in popular lane shops. He says: “I remember the maze game, which is one. the little ball you try to take very carefully. “We learned from her to focus and pay attention to her, we were competing to win games such as hiding and jumping rope, and many gifts came to us to encourage us to fast.”

With technological development, where many games and little mental and motor activity, entertainment has become meaningless or useful, such as the game “Bag Pji”, which is one of the electronic games that has spread unprecedentedly among young people and the elderly. .

What do we have left?

Meanwhile, the Syrian family spends the remaining days of fasting during the day watching a series of dramas, if they get a few hours of electricity, as the country is experiencing a severe rationing crisis and the small screen lights the size of a palm grab them, to follow what they like through social media.

Habits have changed and changed, according to an academic scholar specializing in folk traditions, Nepal Dali, who believes that “the most affected are the younger generation of children, who are addicted to new habits and customs.” The researcher added, for “The Independent Arabia”, “In the past, Ramadan games varied, of which children had a sufficient part, such as the Box of Wonders, or what is called the box (sight), and was considered as one of the means most important entertainment for children, who gather around the owner of the box.When he heard his voice coming in the lanes or public squares shouting (Come and rest, Habab) and as time went on, small games. special baby drawings similar to this box.

The miracle box, as the researcher explains, is a rectangular wooden box decorated with colors, with three or four circular windows that accommodate the child’s head, covered with magnifying lenses that allow him to look at the drawings that the owner of the box moves. telling his story through it. The miracle box is fixed to a wooden pole. With child seats and new spectators, the box owner shouts, “O peace, look at your well-being. Look in front of you, miracles in front of you, look at strange things in front of you.”

Shadow silhouette and far behind

In the face of this, Damascusians are trying to revive a piece of folklore for the forgotten entertainment of children with somewhat embarrassing initiatives due to lack of financial support and lack of sufficient promotion.Artist Rami Darkoshi says that after his participation in the Children’s Theater , they had a series of shadow imagination experiences that did not. He writes to continue, emphasizing: “It must be admitted that intelligent applications and cartoons obviously attracted children to them and it is difficult to return them. until then. “

Shadow fixation and puppet theater can succeed in entertaining children during the month of Ramadan, but in the refugee camps, which are the most needy and poorest point on Syrian soil and its land, children, even adults, do not have enough luxury devices from smartphones, because all the tools of technology are almost non-existent, while traveling teams struggle for children’s theater, with disabilities, to smile on their tired and pale faces from the yoke of war and hunger. .

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