Probably the most enchanting part about Jerusalem’s Ice Festival was its Children’s Stories and Fairy Tales area. Containing such large ice sculptures as the famous Jerusalem Monster, it was the biggest area of the exhibition and the only place I saw kids running between ice sculptures.
Israeli children’s stories were represented, like a story called Dira LeHaskir, or: Apartment for Rent. The story tells of a building inhabiting different animals. When an apartment in the building is up for rent, potential renters – other animals – come to see it. Each has something bad to say about one of the animals already living in the building, thus representing intolerance of society to differentiation. At last, though, a pigeon comes. A pigeon is the symbol of peace and the star of Noah’s story, which was also represented at the ice festival. As the symbol of peace, she finds all the animals in the building wonderful and rents the place.
Another much-loved animal was represented at the exhibition. It is one of my favorites, one I thoroughly enjoyed meeting in person, and at first, I didn’t understand what it was doing there. Later on, I remembered there was a show my brother and I used to watch as kids – and the stars of that show were cartoon penguins who lived in igloos! I wonder if this was indeed the intention, even though this was no Hebrew children’s story….
At least I have a potential explanation to the penguins. How do you explain the icy robot people?
They could represent Israel’s fast rise from no-country to mega-hi-tech country. They could represent the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon. Yet neither explanation seems to be fit with the topic: children’s stories and fairy tales. I read several articles on the festival and neither seemed to pay any attention to them…. or to the ice bear that seemed stuck in an ice cube.
Later on, I read that Henzel and Gretel were supposed to be represented here, and wondered if this was documenting that part of the story before they escaped. Spooky indeed. And with that, we were transported to the universe of worldwide fairy tales.
When I say transported I, of course, mean that we walked by Cinderella‘s carriage and did not touch it, for the fear that it might melt.
The exhibition originally opened in time for Passover, a holiday where kids have 3 weeks off from school (and students got a week and a half off to write interesting seminar papers…. which took more than a week and a half). Some people get time off work as well. The ice festival was so crowded, it was once closed mid-day because the crowds heated up the frozen place…. and ice started melting. Yes, Israel might be high and mighty when it comes to technology, yet dealing with winter is not the strong side of this warm country.
I’m just grateful The Monster didn’t melt when I slid down it… or this castle, for example.
You got to go up the stairs….
…. to take a look around the courtyard….
…. then you could slide down colorful ice!
Thankfully, my friend and I were there late in the game – way after Passover and about a week before the festival closed. While we didn’t get to drink ice at the ice bar, which was closed, at least we weren’t turned away at the door because the festival melted.
To their credit, they got a hold of the situation rather fast in April, and since then, for a while, you had to book a particular hour to come in so that they could make sure only a certain amount of people were inside at any given time.
Perhaps the “heat wave” of the festival is the reason we saw a glove that was left behind.
For us, after a couple groups of pushy kids went away, we had the place almost entirely to ourselves…. and we were able to enjoy yet another lion. This time, it had a baby lion with it, so perhaps together they represented The Lion King.
Yet one of the prettiest creations was the ice carousel!
It was cheerful and you could choose whichever “seat” you preferred…. at least in imagination.
The carousel didn’t actually work, yet, as the rest of the exhibition, it was an awe-inspiring evidence of creativity and ability, and it was indeed an inspiration to stretch my own limits and see what I could do.
I was in bliss.
With these stories and fairy tales, I end the tales of the Jerusalem Ice Festival adventure. I was left the festival with a new dream: to discover more ice festivals around the world!
Throughout your travels, when/where were you inspired to create?