One long banquet table, 5,000 guests, and plenty of delicacies from all around the world

March 5, 2015, Dresden Altmarkt

One several-hundred-meters-long banquet table, 5,000 guests, plenty of delicacies from all around the world, a sunny day, and an atmosphere that perfectly aligned with the event’s motto “Open and Colorful” – the “Meal Open to All” was a total success!

The Theater Junge Generation [Young Generation Theater] invited guests to go on a brief jaunt to Vietnam with its piece “Dresden – Hanoi – Dresden” and put on an exciting object-theater performance, “Fell-Haut – Ein Kragen wird lebendig” [“Pelt – A Collar Comes to Life”]. The Dresden Jewish Week team and “Gefiltefest” club challenged guests to a quiz about eating kosher called “Nicht ganz koscher” [“Not Quite Kosher”]. Klezmer musicians Detlef Hutschenreuter and Dudu Zemach provided accompaniment; there was also a Hebrew lesson.

Ensemble members of the Dresden State Theater and actors from the Community Theater performed a selection of international texts and music. Readers included Albrecht Goette (satires by Kurt Tucholsky) and Thomas Braungardt (“Schneckenmühle” by Jochen Schmidt). A chorus of performers from the Community Theater’s production “Mischpoke” [Yiddish for “family, community”] expressed their own experiences with immigration through song. Interactive games and “speed dating” gave guests the chance to test their own openness to other cultures and get to know their tablemates.

The table for the Refugee Council of Saxony provided information on the association’s work and on what daily life is like for refugees in Germany. The Brücke/Most-Stiftung hosted the second German “street store”: For three hours, the center of the banquet table became a pop-up store where clothing could be donated, exchanged, and given away. The museums of the city of Dresden also had tables; there, over coffee and cake, an eighteenth-century gentleman told the story of how Saxony became a center for coffee consumption. KAMA Dresden e.V. offered short Arabic classes to try out the language, as well as speaking and writing games in cooperation with the course instructors from the association.

Dancers from Kolibri e.V. performed German and Russian folk dances in traditional garb, while the members of the Sorbian Artists’ Association raised their voices and performed poetry and prose to compete with the sounds of happy diners. The Sorbian, Saxon, Polish, and Syrian texts were accompanied by sheet cakes from Lausitz, coffee from Saxony, vodka from Poland, and savory treats from Syria. With short speeches on the subjects of hospitality and the dinner table as a place of community, the German Hygiene Museum (Dresden) shed literary and theological light on a familiar situation. The speakers were Prof. Marina Münkler and Prof. Matthias Klinghardt (TU Dresden).

A big thank-you to all those who helped out, sponsored us, and participated in the event. It was an exhilarating celebration.