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Jerusalem - Annual events


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Jerusalem has a busy calendar of events year round to cater for its constant stream of visitors. Aside from the many religious festivals that are observed in Jerusalem, there are an increasing number of secular events and things to do to appeal to all kinds of visitors.
Below is a list of all annual events and festivals in Jerusalem.

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

January


Festivals


Jerusalem has great variety of festivals to offer, such as Poetry Festival, Be'er Festival, International Summer for Young People in Jerusalem, The official Jerusalem's municipality website brings you a list of all these events.

February


The Jerusalem International Book Fair

The Jerusalem International Book Fair (JIBF) is one of the city's most prestigious international cultural events. First held in 1963, and biennially ever since, JIBF brings writers, publishers, editors and literary agents from around the world together in Jerusalem.

March


The Jerusalem Marathon

- Jerusalem is one of few cities in the world that has a marathon course with such breathtaking and inspirational views for runners to enjoy. There were approximately 10,000 runners in attendance (full marathon, half marathon, and 10K), including 1000 runners from 43 different countries (230 of them from the US). The selected running tracks narrate the story of Jerusalem in the course of 3000 years of this city's history.

Sounds of the Old City

A musical celebration with dozens of shows; musicians, breathtaking performances of music and sound in the passageways, in the squares and on the Old City walls. An Armenian music celebration Traditional Arabic music groups Early Christian music and gospel shows Music and shows inspired by Jewish culture And the festival is also conquering the passageways: musicians, authentic instruments, dozens of special screenings of "Sounds of the Old City" inspired by the different traditions.

Festival of Flavors in the Old City

the Old City of Jerusalem will be filled with flavors and aroma of special dishes. For four nights, special dishes from the four different quarters of the Old City (Moslem, Jewish, Christian and Armenian), are being served. The idea is to embrace the culinary art and the smells and sights of the four cultures that live in the four quarters of the Old City. In each quarter you will find its traditional dishes and culinary culture.

Adloyada

The Adloyada is a Purim carnival which includes a costume parade and takes place in many cities in Israel and even in some cities in the world. In Jerusalem the carnival is usually taking place in Jaffa and Ben Yehuda streets and it inclueds costume parade, and street concerts. The name Adloyada comes from the expression "Ad Lo Yada", meaning "until he couldn't tell". According to this, every Jew should drink wine until he can't tell the difference between the good man and the evil.

April


Jerusalem Arts Festival

The Jerusalem Arts Festival takes place between March to April. The festival has become a tradition and a pivotal event in the cultural life of the city, aiming to promote, to nurture and to encourage the various creative fields and present the general public with unique and quality performances at prices everyone can afford. Shows featuring dance, theatre, music and song presenting the finest amateur and semi-professional groups will be held in the halls of the Jerusalem Theatre, the Khan Theatre, the YMCA Hall, at Shimshon Center – Beit Shmuel, the Gerard Bechar Center, St. Andrew's Church and other sites in the city.

Passover

this is one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar, and one of the longest. It is a holiday celebrating liberty. In particular, the time when the Jews fled Egypt and made their way through the dessert to the land of Israel. Since this is a family oriented holiday, almost every shop in the country will be closed on the first day of Passover, though some restaurants remain open for the tourists. During the 7 days of Passover in the middle of the month, you are not supposed to eat bread. Only matzo is allowed, in memory of the flight of the Jews. This is a great time to visit, as spirits are high and festivities abound.

Mimouna

this traditional North African holiday falls at the very end of Passover and focuses on the art of hospitality. The locals make vast amounts of delicious Moroccan food on the night of Mimouna and leave their doors open in invitation to any stranger who wishes to join the celebration. The next day sees a traditional outdoor barbeque, and again, the food is offered freely to anyone passing by.

May


Jerusalem Day

The Jerusalem Day is an Israeli national holiday marking the liberation of the city and its reunification after the Six Day war. The day is marked by state ceremonies, memorial services for soldiers who died in the battle for Jerusalem, parades through downtown Jerusalem, special prayers in synagogues, lectures on Jerusalem-related topics, singing and dancing and many other activities. The day is held in the Hebrew Calendar on 28th of Iyar which is usually between mid-May to the end of the month.

Abu-Gosh Vocal Music Festival

The Abu-Gosh Festival is the leading and most important festival in the Israeli vocal music scene. The Festival has existed in its present layout since 1992, and it takes place twice a year – on Succoth (Oct) and Shavuoth (May) – lasting between three to five days each time. Thousands from all over the country and turn Abu Gosh and its churches into a colorful vocal locale of festivities The Festival's concerts are performed in two churches: the Crusader-Benedictine Church, built in the 12th century, situated in the heart of the village; and the Kiryat Ye'arim Church, situated at the top of the hill, overlooking Abu-Gosh.

The International Writers Festival

The International Writer’s Festival is a biennial event which take place on May, The festival has nearly as many international writers present as Israelis. The main festival program will be held at Mishkenot Sha'ananim, but events will take place in various locations in Jerusalem, including the Jerusalem Cinematheque, Anna Ticho House, the Museum On the Seam, The Yellow Submarine, The Lab, and others.

Student Day of The Hebrew University

Student day in Israel is held usually close to the end of May. In Jerusalem this day comes usually on the same date of Jerusalem Day and provides a day of many various activities for students, from free tours, open markets, free entrance to many places and museums and many concerts. Above all these there is the main concert which includes performances of many famous Israeli and world artists. The concert starts in the evening and last all night long with a dance party until the next morning.

The Israel Festival

The Festival takes place annually for a few weeks in the spring. Throughout the festival, audiences are able to enjoy performances by artists from all over the world, as well as premieres of Israeli works and tributes to leading Israeli artists. The public can also attend a large selection of free performances, including street theatre, children's shows and a nightly jazz club.

Independence Day

as in every country, this is a day full of food, drink, celebration and fireworks. On May 3rd, hundreds of kids run amok with plastic hammers, which are symbols of their patriotism. Party people will find lots of special events at the city’s nightclubs on the eve of the 2nd. On the day itself, every person in the country settles down outside and cooks a barbeque, or Al-haesh, as it’s called in Hebrew. In the evening besides of all the parties, Jerusalem, as a Capital city, has the formal main stage with an Army March, governors speeches, and fireworks.

June


Shavuot

the charming Jewish holiday which celebrates harvest time falls at the beginning of the month. It focuses on nature and it’s customary to wear white clothing and eat lots of fruit and cheese. Children can often be seen wearing little wreathes of flowers on their heads as they trot off to school.

The Jerusalem Festival of Light

The annual Festival of Light Jerusalem colors the old city for eight days with artistic lights. In the evening, the old city’s alleys are turned into an open museum that exhibits unique light statues. The artistic illumination turns the buildings to marvelous monuments. Israelis artists and guest artists participate in this festival. Various kinds of culture shows, guided tours, etc… take place.

Cherry Festival - Gush Etzion

In addition to cherry picking, where you are allowed to eat as much as you like, there will be a farmers market, craft booths, bouncy castles, performances, and more. You can also purchase baskets for filling and taking home with you.

July


One Meter Square Festival

- Jerusalem Poetry Festival
The annual “One Meter Square” festival is the latest installment in what has become a tradition of poetry reading festivals, featuring some of the best poets and musicians. The Festival takes place in the Botanic Garden in the heart of Jerusalem. The participating poets read from their works and talk to audiences in intimate green spaces and in cafés in the garden.

Balabasta Festival – Culture in the Marke

A July festival in the alleyways of the shuk sizzles summer nights with music, art, dance - and, of course, food. Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem's most colorful "shuk," or marketplace, is usually closed for the evening. But for four Monday nights in July, the Balabasta Festival came to the alleys of the market, courtesy of producer Kobi Frig. The festival is an eclectic mix of everything from wild to sophisticated. Weird sculptures are set up on balconies, and Capoeira and waltzing breaks out on the pavement as bands play music on cobblestones and rooftops.

Israel Wine-Tasting Festival

Wine and art make excellent companions, and the annual Israeli Wine Tasting Festival takes place at the Israel Museum between July and August. Thousands of visitors each summer enjoy the cool Jerusalem air and the romantic setting of the illuminated sculptures by night. Admission to the festival is 80 NIS per person, and includes a wineglass, which can be re-filled throughout the evening, as one strolls from stall to stall, learning about the different Israeli vineyards and wineries, and sampling their wares. For more information visit the Israel Museum's website.

The Jerusalem March For Pride and Tolerance

Pride parades are held for years all over the world in order to mark the equal rights of the Homo-Lesbian community. From the 90th it is held also in Israel and since 2002 it is held on Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Pride Parade is called "Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance".

Jerusalem Film Festival

The annual Jerusalem Film Festival takes place in July. During the festival’s days, quality Israeli films and films from lot of other countries are displayed. Out of the consensus films as documentary films, avant-garde, etc… are shown. The shows take place in Jerusalem cinemateque, in Sultan's Pool and in various halls over the city. Professional conferences, lectures, workshops and events are open to the public.

The Maccabiah

The Maccabiah is an international Jewish athletic event, held in Israel every four years under the auspices of the Maccabi Federation, affiliated with the Maccabi World Union. The third Maccabiah, scheduled for 1938, was delayed until 1950 due to the rise of Nazism in Europe and the outbreak of the Second World War. The Maccabiah has been a quadrennial event since 1957. Maccabiah is open to Jewish athletes as well as Israeli athletes regardless of religion.

August


The International Festival of Puppet Theater Jerusalem

The International Festival of Puppet Theater Jerusalem promises the young and adult visitors a week of adventure and a unique theatrical experience in The Train Theater, The Festival selects performances based on variety, quality and relevance, and have hosted many artists known for their contribution to the field of puppetry and Visual Theater. During the years, the Festival has become the primal source of creation and inspiration in the field of Puppet Theater in Israel.

Festival Khutzot Hayotzer - Art & craft fair

The festival is taking place for three weeks every year in August and has become a tradition in Jerusalem and the largest tourist attraction of the Jerusalem summer season. More than 150 of the best of Israel's artist and artisans exhibit paintings, prints, ceramics, metalwork and jewelry, weaving and textiles, Judaica, toys, crafts in various techniques, works in wood and more. Guest artists and artisans from all over the world exhibit their authentic and varied arts and crafts in unique booths.

Beer Festival

The Jerusalem Beer Festival at the historic train station. The Jerusalem Beer Festival is considered one of the largest, impressive and leading beer events in the country and the most attractive gathering of young adult audience in the Holy City. Over 50,000 liters of more than a hundred brands from all over the world will be offered, mainstream, boutique and local brewed. During the two-day festival, the historic train station will become a huge bar with impressive structures and luxurious attractions.

Annual Kite-Flying Festival

A colorful kite-flying event, a long-standing tradition at the Israel Museum In conjunction with the exhibition Crossplay: Male Actors, Female Roles in Kabuki Theatre Kite-making workshops, Kite-flying and musical parade of giant puppets. For more information visit the Israel Museum's website.

Jerusalem Woodstock Revival

The Jerusalem Woodstock Revival is now a firm part of Israel’s summer-time event calendar. Whilst the original Woodstock festival happened a long time ago and the festival no longer lives on, the music does. In Israel the mix of music from the summer of ’69 remains ever-popular, combined with modern-day hits. And it’s for that reason that now, for the fourth consecutive year, Jerusalem hosts a 5-hour music marathon.

September


The Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival


The Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival is held, every year, in the end of August – beginning of September. This is a series of concerts performed by leading Israelis and international artists and compositions. The concerts are held in YMCA concert hall in Jerusalem.The festival's program, lineup information and the admission fee cost are present in the festival's website.

Piyut Festival Jerusalem

The artists and the festival’s shows create a marvelous linkage between the ancient Hebrew holiness poetry and the nowadays culture.
The reach program which includes workshops is presented in the event’s website.

Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) is one of the most important religious day of the Jewish year. It is a day of celebrating the new Jewish year, accouring to the Jewish tradition the day is counted since the birth day of Adam (Genesis). There is a special reverent atmosphere around the country as people wear white and go to synagogues.

October


Tzuba March

Tzuba March that takes place every year in the intermediate days of Sukkoth, started in 2009. The four km course of the march is convenient. It passes through the marvelous views of Judah Mountains and among the vineyards in front of Jerusalem corridor communities and the environment. Along the course the participants can enjoy creation stands for children, drumming circles, wine tastes of Tzuba winery, and other surprises. Time tables, maps and filling fee are displayed in Tzuba website.

Gush Etzion Festival

Gush-Etzion Theater and Jewish Music Festival that started in 2001 proves itself as one of the reach contents Jewish culture events. The festival is held, every year, in the local youth cultural center in Gush-Etzion in the intermediate days of Sukkoth. The festival hosts Jewish music shows and theater plays that deal with the nowadays Jewish identity performed by diverse theater groups. Artists’ fair, food fair, music and theater workshops, creation workshops for the whole family are held in addition to the stage’s shows. For more information call: +972-2-9937999 /2

The Jerusalem March

- Every year at the annual Sukkot parade, thousands of tourists and Israelis stroll down Jerusalem's streets smiling and waving flags from around the world. The annual Sukkot parade is organized by the Jerusalem municipality and other official bodies. In addition, the committee barred participation in various events planned by the International Christian Embassy at the Jerusalem International Convention Center in celebration of the holiday.

The International Pomegranate Festival in Ein Yael

Celebrate the mythical pomegranate of 613 seeds (go ahead- count!) at the Pomegranate Festival in Ein Yael. At this live museum, set in a lovely natural surroundings of the Jerusalem outskirts, enjoy actors performances, pomegranate jam competitions, arts and crafts with ceramics and even pomegranate dye, and more. Learn about the significance of the pomegranate to our land, history and heritage. The festival takes place during Sukkot holiday in Ein Yael Living Museum. For more information call 02-645-1866

Abu-Gosh Vocal Music Festival

The Abu-Gosh Festival is the leading and most important festival in the Israeli vocal music scene. The Festival has existed in its present layout since 1992, and it takes place twice a year – on Succoth (Oct) and Shavuoth (May) – lasting between three to five days each time. Thousands from all over the country and turn Abu Gosh and its churches into a colorful vocal locale of festivities The Festival's concerts are performed in two churches: the Crusader-Benedictine Church, built in the 12th century, situated in the heart of the village; and the Kiryat Ye'arim Church, situated at the top of the hill, overlooking Abu-Gosh.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is the most important religious day of the year for Jews. It is a day of fasting and to ask for forgiveness. There is a special reverent atmosphere around the city as people wear white and ponder over their deeds of the past year. The hotels will still serve food, but literally everything else all over Israel shuts down on this day. A walk in the Old City of Jerusalem will give you a unique spirtual experience.

Sukkot

this important holiday is another harvest festival which has been celebrated since biblical times. During this 7 day holiday, it is tradition to build a tent made from palm leaves and white sheets. Children decorate the interior with colourful paper art and the whole family is supposed to eat and sleep in the Sukka throughout the week. Sukkoth is one of the most eventful holidays, with dozens of festivals and interesting cultural events taking place all over the city.

November


Jerusalem International Oud Festival

The Festival is known as the most qualitative and biggest of its kind. The festival which became part of the culture in Jerusalem brings each year in November the beauty and the influence of the Arabic and Middle East music on the western music by creating "a natural bridge" between the cultures and the musical traditions. The festival combines between east and west and between various ethnic groups by using the Oud which is the leading music instrument among the eastern music instruments.

Jerusalem Knights Festival

The old city of Jerusalem turns, once a year, to a Knight city. The festival that is aimed to the whole family holds street shows performed by Israeli artists and guest from various countries. The visitors can see knights’ fights, fire stunts, dance with Middle Ages style and costumes, meetings with "archaic" figures in the old city’s alleys, etc… The festival is free of charge.

December


Meorot convention

The annual Meorot convention at The Hebrew university (Givhat Ram) is a celebration of the possible, the nearly possible and the imagined. The convention, dedicated to science and Science Fiction, includes lecture, panels and special events, all dealing with one of the most interesting questions facing mankind today – what's next? What will our lives look like as technology changes and evolves? How will we shape our world and ourselves? What kind of society will we create for ourselves? Each year a topic at the forefront of scientific research as the focus for all activities in the convention and this time it is Biodiversity.

Hanukkah

this Jewish holiday serves a similar function as Christmas does for Christians. A favorite of children, Hanukkah is actually the celebration of a miracle. When the Israelis recaptured the Temple from the Greeks, they had only one small vessel of oil left to light the temple. Yet somehow this tiny amount lasted for 8 days until more oil could be made. Thus, the holiday’s main focus is on light and oil and the return of power to the Israeli people. During these 8 days, Jerusalem offers many activities and parties for kids and adults.

Sylvester Eve

New Years Eve in Israel has become bigger and bigger in recent years, and whilst not officially celebrated, and there are now hundreds of New Years Eve parties across Israel, as well as many other special events, which cater to all musical, cultural, and social tastes. New Years in Israel is known as Sylvester, and parties are known as Sylvester parties. From the bustling Sylvester parties in Jerusalem’s many nightclubs to special concerts and local events, if you want to see in the New Year in Israel, you will find a celebration for you.










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