Klezmer is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe. Played by professional musicians called klezmorim, the genre originally consisted largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other celebrations.
Klezmer festival is held annually in Tzfat, the holy city, city of Kabbala, on August.
This festival is a 3 days fiesta, of joy, Jewish tradition, fantastic atmosphere.
Thousands of locals, guests (Israeli and from abroad), non-religous, religous, ultra- Ortodox are walking in the special streets and lanes of the city, enjoying the sounds, and the refreshing winds of warm and humid August.
The Lag Ba'Omer fest is celebrated 33 days after Passover. Whence its name, which stands for "the 33 day in the Omer count". This is the count of 7 weeks from Passover to Pentecost. Accodring to Jewish tradition there are no weddings from Passover until Lag Ba'Omer to commemorate the death of Rabbi Akiva's pupils during that time, in Roman times around 130 AD. Anyway, because of that this holiday has the largest amount of weddings than any other day of the year.
As a kid, you don't really care about weddings. For you the importance of Lag Ba'Omer is that at this night it's traditional to fire bonfires. So, this is also the day in the year with the largest number of fires...
Anyway, back to the point. Every year in the night of Lag Ba'Omer there is a huge fest in the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai on Mount Meiron, next to Zefat. According to tradition, Shimon Bar-Yochai is the author of the Zohar book. The base of the Kabala. In this fest there are of course plenty of bonfires and religious people come with their 3 year old kids to give them their first haircut.
Zefat is a very reliogious city. If you visit on a Saturday, everything will be closed. The city is full with Hassidic groups and followers of the Kabbala, the Jewish mistic cult. They came here for centuries to practice Kabbala, which was founded here. These colourful cults have spirituals rituals, practiced here and in the forests around. The forest are also full with holly graves, each this it own ritual.
I hapenned to be in Zefat during the Chanukka holiday. For 8 nights it's customary to have candles lit. Tradition dictates the lights should be visible from the outside, this is why in Jewish religious houses there is often a special glass box for the lights. To see more about the fest of lights, see the travelogue in my Jerusalem page.
Not only in Zefat, but anywhere in Israel, you can see the old Arabic houses have blue doors and windows. This is not only for aesthethic reasons, it serves highly practical function! There is a common belief that the devil cannot see the colour blue and thus, painting the doors and windows blue will make it impossible for him to get into the house.