A whole weekend of festivities in the village of Çatalköy
By Heidi Trautmann
For two full days the main square of Çatalköy became the living room for villagers, friends and guests, neighbouring houses opened their doors and windows and offered homemade food and handicraft. Chairs were provided for people to sit along the street, grandma cooked pancakes on the traditional special cooker, families brought out their preserves and honey pots, freshly baked bread and cakes were offered on stalls.
When we arrived there in the afternoon the festival was in full swing, dance groups were doing their last training, and, what impressed and touched me most, were the guests of honour sitting with the elders in the village coffee shop lined up along the wall talking to the villagers while waiting for the official call to the stage to officially open this year’s art and culture festival.
What an enormous stage they had erected. The first to officially open the event was the young mayor of Çatalköy Mehmet Hulusioğlu called on stage by two beautiful ladies dressed in colourful traditional coats, Oya Akın and Emine Gürçağ. Ministerpresident Dr. Irsen Küçük and President Dervis Eroğlu were to follow and they were holding long and meaningful speeches. After the opening ceremony the folk dance children were proud to show us their art. The guests of honour were led through the festival ground and shown all the stands and they talked to the vendors and people on the balconies.
For two days the stage was the venue for dance groups, award ceremonies for the cooking competition and in the evenings we could see very special theatre shows by the theatre groups from Çatalköy and Güzelyurt and on the second day, as the concluding event, an amazing fashion show with the famous Turkish Cypriot Fashion Designer Abdullah Öztoprak who had also designed the costumes for the Cypriot film ‘Codename Venus’.
There were art and photo competitions with prizes awarded; Sevcan Çerkez had joined the festival with her clay family and no visitor left without having their pictures taken with one of the family members. The renovated old olive mill had opened its doors and on many photos we could see what Çatalköy had looked like in the old days.
It was a festival with a difference. A big thank you to Mehmet Hulusioğlu, the mayor, and Derman Atık, the cultural director, for arranging the event.
Published in Cyprus Observer 29, 2012