An Arabian Nights theme can help you add an air of mystery and exoticism to your next social gathering. Help transport your guests to faraway lands by planning a variety of relevant activities that go along with the theme. For inspiration, look to the stories from "The Arabian Nights," such as "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp" or "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor" or simply take ideas from Middle Eastern culture and folklore.
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Teach your guests something new by hosting a workshop or two at your gathering. Think about what kinds of skills your guests would be interested in learning and incorporate these into your theme. For instance, if you think your guests would like to take away some new cooking techniques, bring in a chef to demonstrate how to cook some typical Middle Eastern dishes. If your budget doesn't allow for a chef, find some recipes from places like Morocco and follow the instructions as a group to prepare a meal. Other Arabian Nights-themed workshop ideas could include learning a few phrases in Arabic or a demonstration of Middle Eastern music.
Bring a bit of competitive edge to your gathering with a few friendly Arabian Nights-themed competitions. For instance, encourage your guests to come dressed to the theme and have a contest to determine who has the best costume. You could also host a dance competition; there are several different kinds of dances to choose from, including belly dancing. Award the winners of your competitions with things like gift tokens to local Middle Eastern restaurants, small Middle Eastern trinkets available at international-style markets or with a copy of "The Arabian Nights."
Pay homage to the collection of tales in "The Arabian Nights," also known as "One Thousand and One Nights," with some icebreakers. For instance, encourage your guests to do some storytelling of their own. Set up an area of the space to look like King Shahrayar's chamber; fill the space with Middle Eastern decor, including floor pillows and Persian-style rugs for your guests to sit on. Have each guest tell a story to the rest of the group about a subject of his choosing or have a progressive storytelling session in which one guest starts a story and the other guests add to it until each person has had a turn to contribute.
Give your guests an idea of what the Arabian Nights theme is all about without requiring them to read the entire book. Show them how the classic has been represented in popular culture. Screen one of the several film representations that have been made over the years or compare and contrast the different portrayals with a movie marathon. Or create your own representations of the Arabian Nights with some short themed skits to get the party going.
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