Like the previous edition, this year’s festival is also running online due to the pandemic. Over 20 storytellers from across the world and a large number of Iranian narrators are participating in this event, which is organized every year by the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA - Kanoon).
The performances are streamed online on Kanoon’s website, Instagram and Aparat, an Iranian video sharing service.
“The tradition of storytelling enjoys a history as long as human existence, and has been a major medium for education and training among the people over the different periods of history,” Kanoon deputy director Mahmud Moravvej said during the opening ceremony of the festival.
He said that the development of social media and modern technologies have never overshadowed storytelling.
Patrick Mohr from Switzerland, one of the storytellers, gave his performance “The Story of the Lake” on the first day of the festival, which will be running for six days.
“A Pangolin Story” was narrated by the celebrated Malaysian storyteller Nor Azhar Ishak. He is also a science museum educator and award-winning picture book writer and illustrator. He won the consolation prize in the DBP Picture Book Award 2013, and the YGL-Oyez! Picture Book Award.
The Filipino-Canadian storyteller Veronica Antipolo narrated “My Filipino Grandmother and Me”. She is the co-founder of Mosaic of Untold Lives, a storytelling platform. She has performed for the CBC Glenn Gould Studio.
Beatriz Quintana Valle from Cuba, Raquel Lopez Cascales from Spain, Ruben Corbett from Mexico, Baeletsi Tsatsi from South Africa, Argin Kubin from Turkey, Ahmad Rashedi from Oman and Haytham Shokry from Egypt also narrated their stories on the opening day.
Antonio Rocha, a Brazilian award-winning mime and storyteller, also held a workshop on Thursday.
Marcela Sabio from Argentina, Raida Guermazi from Tunisia and Boniface Ofogo from Cameroon are among the overseas storytellers who will give performances during the festival.
The final session of the festival will be held on Yalda Night, which falls on December 21 this year, the last day of autumn, the evening of which is celebrated by Iranians as the ancient tradition. Storytelling by parents and grandparents is a key element of the celebration.
Yalda Night is considered the longest night of the year when the ancient Iranians celebrated the birth of Mithra, the goddess of light.