The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) organized an event on Oct. 1, International Day of the Elderly, for over 250 Ramallah-area seniors.
Birzeit- The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) organized an event on Oct. 1, International Day of the Elderly, for over 250 Ramallah-area seniors. Despite the effects of the occupation and severely restricted freedom of movement, the elders were able to join together to celebrate and express themselves.
The message from the senior citizens of Palestine was this:
The elderly are like the roots of the tree: they contain within themselves years of light, wisdom, and experience which grow to enable and stimulate younger generations to live a strong and healthy life.
Seven senior community centers participated to mark the day. These included the Father Anton Buzo Birzeit Senior Citizen Center (BSCC), Baytuna of Caritas Ramallah, The Women Arab Union of Ramallah and El Bireh, Al Attaa Foundation, Mar Mansour Association of Jifna, and Beit Afraim from Al Taybeh.
The International Day of the Elderly celebrations in Ramallah began with a scripture reading emphasizing the respect of parents. It was followed by a performance presented by the Sabreen Association For Artistic Development, after which the BSCC Dabkeh group performed folklore dancing and songs – a Palestinian tradition. Later a group of the younger generation from the Friends school in Ramallah joined the elderly, and together they made a folklore master piece. This has helped to transmit a love of folklore from one generation to the next.
A poem on seniors was written and read aloud by a senior woman, followed by a musical piece played by a blind older man. Participants enjoyed dinner together after the day’s festivities.
Most of the program was performed by the seniors themselves to represent their active status as members of society. Their language was spiritual, and they communicated through their performances. The elders of the Holy Land wish to join their voices with seniors from all over the world in sharing this message – that,
The elderly are human beings with capacities for feeling, sharing, creativity, and production.