Anemone celebration

This year marks the 12th annual Darom Adom (Red South) festival, celebrating the millions of red anemones that cover a large area in the northern Negev.

‘Darom Adom’ festival (photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
‘Darom Adom’ festival
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
When February arrives, we know that our short winter is almost over and spring will have its opportunity to take over. Our spring is a beautiful one and therefore, it is fitting for the vibrant red anemone to usher it in.
The anemone is the national flower of the State of Israel. In a rainy winter, it blossoms as early as January, but it always reaches its peak in February and sticks around throughout April.
Being a geophyte, the anemone emerges every year from a bulb that lies close to the ground’s surface. That means that it must not be disturbed by agriculture, as plowing the soil will expose the bulbs and destroy them. From the early years of Israel’s statehood, children learned to protect wildflowers and not pick them.
The start of this successful campaign in the mid-1950s produced good results through education, which cultivated concern for wild flowers such as the beautiful anemone. That wise idea of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel enables us today to celebrate the beginning of the spring in the Western Negev surrounded by fields of bright red anemones in full blossom.
This year marks the 12th annual Darom Adom (Red South) festival. This celebrates the millions of red anemones that cover a large area in the northern Negev.
During the festival, which takes place in the four weekends of February, there are numerous events spread over a vast area of six regional councils.
After strolling in the red fields and saturating your heart and soul with the lovely blossoms, take part in the other events planned for and around the festival.
The whole region opens its doors wide for you.
Enjoy the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund national forests. In the vicinity is the Harari picnic area and a pleasant place to hike. The festival also boasts musical performances of leading artists and other activities, such as walking and biking trails, hot-air balloons, painting and crafts for children. The events are held in collaboration with the Tourism Ministry, KKL-JNF and Mekorot. Many of the events are open to visitors for free.
Also during this time, Mekorot – the national water company – will be celebrating 70 years of waterline pipes to the Negev. Join a fascinating excursion to water reservoirs along the Besor River. Cross the river on a wooden suspension bridge or try the newer pipeline bridge for the best views of the river.
When you get hungry, there are lovely spots to stop and investigate like the Tzeela dairy near Ein Habesor. Here you will find a ranch of fine sheep and goats where they produce tasty and unique cheese. Enjoy the hot springs and spa at Einot Bar, located in the small village of Giv’ot Bar near the Beduin town of Rahat. In Einot Bar lodgings are available to spend a night or two. Another option is the lovely Eretz Tze’elim Lodge in Kibbutz Tze’elim that offers a range of levels of comfort to fit everyone’s needs.
During your road trip around the beautiful western Negev there is a myriad of fun activities, and in addition you can marvel at the agricultural attractions.
Essential to the local economy, the water line and water reservoirs help to create new habitats and attract wildlife species that seek food and shelter in the green.
The western Negev is a wonder from many points of view and especially at this time of the year, thanks to the celebration of the red anemone.
For more info on Darom Adom events: www.