JEDDAH: In the past, every year on Eid Al-Adha, 13 Dul Hijja, during the traditional ‘JoJo’ Hijazi celebration, the people of Makkah received the Saudi pilgrims with songs and folk songs to honor their completion of Hajj rituals.
Over the years, the ways of welcoming pilgrims after the Hajj have changed and the JoJo celebration has almost disappeared.
Atareek in Jeddah, located in Al-Tayebat International City of Science and Knowledge in Al-Faisaliyah district, aims to preserve Saudi and Hijazi traditions celebrating the JoJo.
Shareefa Al-Sudairi, the founder of Atareek, which has been operating for more than ten years, told Arab News: “Through Atareek, we are trying to revive everything related to the Hijazi heritage and also to represent many cultures. of the Kingdom from different backgrounds. regions to help new generations discover and get to know the beautiful traditions of their ancestors.
JoJo’s name is inspired by an Arabic word with a Hijazi accent, which translates to “They have arrived”. It is part of a well-known folk song that friends and family of pilgrims sing during the celebration.
JoJo used to celebrate children going to Hajj for the first time with their parents, motivate them and introduce other young people to the rituals of Hajj. Later, the celebration took place for the pilgrims and their children.
Al-Sudairi said one of the highlights of the celebration is when the place is filled with laughter from children, JoJo songs and sweets.
“Pilgrims sit on the ground, and children gather around them, holding the ends of a sheet over the pilgrims’ heads filled with old Hijazi ‘noql’ type sweets.
“Then they start spinning while singing and holding the leaf, then they spread candies everywhere and argue who will collect more nogl than the other.” Al-Sudairi said.
Nogl sweets consist of chickpeas, almonds, pistachios, nuts, gummies, coins and banknotes.
“What we have discovered in these ten years is that the legacy of Hijaz is indeed international; it brings together different cultures related to many countries,” she said.
“Whenever guests come to Atareek from Morocco, Spain, Egypt, Palestine and other countries, they could spot many cultural heritage items that remind them of their country,” Al-Sudairi said. .
Atareek is a museum, an art gallery and a place for celebrations on the theme of Hijazi folk culture. It receives visits from schools and tourists from all over the world, including several embassies and consulates, as it is considered a landmark accompanying the Abdul Raouf Khalil Museum.
It is characterized by authentic Hijazi heritage, including several paintings on Hijaz themes such as crafts, trades, Saudi coffee and Hajj caravans.
These paintings change throughout the year, donated by Saudi artists from Abdul Raouf Khalil’s art studio. Many other ancient pieces dating back over 50 years were donated by well-known Hijazi families to help Atareek preserve and revive Hijazi heritage.
The venue also includes large wooden benches called karweet and mirkaz, a type of furniture that is no longer used due to the availability of many other comfortable options.
These benches are usually decorated with “Arabesque”, a type of ancient Islamic art related to Islamic architecture featuring complex geometric shapes and requiring skilled craftsmanship.
Atareek also aims to shed light on the most popular Saudi dishes inspired by all regions of the Kingdom – such as balila, mugalgal, mandi lamb and Saudi white coffee – served during the celebration of JoJo and the first days of Eid Al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Al-Sudairi said, “Our utensils are all inspired by what our ancestors used, including copper utensils to provide the most authentic experience possible.”
Ninety years ago, the buildings of the first Saudi state were lit by ancient copper lanterns called Atareek, which inspired the name of the place.
“The word Atareek means lanterns with a Hijazi accent. I gave it this name because the old lanterns are literally used for light here, where in the past the presence of these lanterns near the door of any house was used to indicate that there was a happy occasion ahead. happened in that house,” Aldit Sudairi.