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Hacivat and Karagöz to bring world’s children together in Bursa
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 17 Apr 2011 Sun 09:24 am

Hacivat and Karagöz to bring world’s children together in Bursa

17 April 2011, Sunday / ENSAR TUNA ALATÜRK

                                Bursa Governor Şahabettin Harput


The festivities organized for the 33rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, celebrated on April 23, will gather 1,000 children from 40 countries.

Karagöz and Hacivat, two figures from traditional Turkish puppet theater, will be featured in this year’s festivities, where the main theme is children’s games. The Bursa Governor’s Office is also collaborating with the festival organizers.

The children will stay in Turkey for a week, during which time they will learn games that are popular among Turkish kids: hopscotch, blind man’s buff and dokuz taş (a game played with nine stones). As many as 3,000 Turkish families have applied to host the visiting youngsters, and they are making preparations with an enjoyable rush. The people of Bursa are ready to exhibit the finest of Turkish hospitality to their guests. Governor Şahabettin Harput has said the festivities will be held in Bursa for the first time and that they offer a great opportunity to promote the city. Noting that Bursa is good choice for kids as it was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and is a historic city, Harput underlined that the festivities will feature a “mascot” for the first time. He indicated that the mascot of the festivities will be Hacivat and Karagöz, registered as part of Turkey’s cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In addition to 1,000 kids from various countries, nearly 250 guides, executives and reporters will attend the festivities.

The visiting children will be in Turkey between April 13 and 16. After their arrival at İstanbul Atatürk Airport, groups from 30 countries will take a bus to Bursa. Groups from the remaining 10 countries will enter Turkey from other border crossings before traveling to Bursa.

The festivities will start on April 17. Kids will first pay a visit to the Bursa Governor’s Office and the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality. Then, the festivities commence with the Opening March, in which all groups attending the festivities will march from the Osmangazi tomb in Tophane to Heykel, or “The Monument,” the most popular meeting spot for Bursa residents, located in the city center. The parade will have a theme and feature a mini show of mehter bands and a drum show. An exhibition titled “History of April 23 in Photos” will be held at the Kent Meydanı shopping center and the Turkish Parliament.

Visiting youngsters will get a chance to learn more about Bursa during trips to Uludağ, Lake Leylekli, Cumalıkızık, İznik and Mudanya, a cable-car tour and visits to the Karagöz and city museums and city parks. Their first performance will be on April 19. Twelve groups from various countries will stage their performances during the festivities held in the city square during which pop singer Funda Arar will give a concert. These shows will also feature Karagöz and Hacivat characterizations.

The visiting children will go to Ankara on April 20, where they will pay a visit to Atatürk’s mausoleum and be received by President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Hacivat and Karagöz mascot of the festivities

A mascot will be used for the first time ever during this year’s festivities. Hacivat and Karagöz were approved to be the mascot of the festivities. Special vector designs inspired by the mascots have been made. Based on the mascots, an acrobatic and animation performance will be staged. All materials used will feature Hacivat and Karagöz figures. The theme of the festivities will be children’s games. To this end, a documentary on world kids’ games has been prepared. Amateur video shot by visiting youngsters in their respective countries will be used during the programs. In addition, the visitors will have a picnic with disabled children from Bursa.

Record attempt with a five-ton cake

The festivities will also see an attempt to set a record with a five-ton cake. The children will cut and eat this cake in front of Heykel. Deputy Governor Vedat Müftüoğlu, who is in charge of the festivities, said the festivities will feature many firsts and offer a good opportunity to promote Turkey and Bursa. He indicated that the visiting children will not only share their cultures and folklore but also learn about those of Turkey. Stressing that they have taken all measures to prevent any problems, Müftüoğlu stated that interpreters for 55 languages will accompany the children during the festivities.

UNICEF supporter Angelina Jolie

Celebrities who are UNHCR goodwill ambassadors and also supporters of UNICEF such as Audrey Hepburn and Nane Annan had been invited as guests of honor in previous April 23 celebrations. This year, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie was invited to attend the children’s festival. Although she has yet to respond, the organizers expect her to make on appearance via video conference. During the festivities, children’s films such as “Tangled” and “Roadside Romeo,” acquired from Walt Disney, will be aired for the children free of charge.

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