Jerash Festival

On Tuesday night I had the chance to head up to a town called Jerash in the north of Jordan. Jerash is known for its immense Roman ruins including an amphitheater, water systems, a street (with chariot grooves still visible- how cool?!)  a hippodrome and Hadrian’s Arch. I haven’t been up there in awhile and although we got there at night seeing the monuments lit up was great!

Some friends and I meandered up there for the annual Jerash Festival which highlights art, culture, and local traditions. Singers, poets, dancers and more performances make up the festival, which lasts a couple of weeks.

We caught the Circassian concert which was held in the Roman amphitheater. Sitting in a place that is older than most modern concepts of God certainly gives a gal a sense of perspective. The old stone steps were still warm from the sun and I settled back to enjoy an evening of what exactly, I wasn’t sure!

Note: Circassians are a group of people who were pushed out of the Caucasus region during the Russian invasion in the 19th century. They have settled in many different regions of the world including the Middle East but many have retained their unique culture, language, and traditions. What we had the chance to see were artists performing songs and dances celebrating Circassian traditions.

Some of the songs were slow and some made me want to get up and dance!

My favorite part had to be the Circassian dance troupe, who pretty much rocked the shoes right off my feet. These guys had so much kefi (the Greek word for ‘spirit’- I love it) I laughed out loud. They danced, they yelled, they spun, they sang. When they were joined by the female members of the group there was a distinct difference between the way the men and women danced; the girls were quiet, demure, graceful, and the boys were loud and raucous and exuberant.

Can you tell which one I’d rather be? 😉

The performance was over all too soon and I enjoyed the heck out of it. Getting out of town for a bit was great and seeing something you’d don’t get to see everyday is always an added bonus!


The dancer/drummers


Circassian singer


The crowd in the amphitheater


Ta Da!


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