The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation and
The Know Thy Heritage
Palestinian Heritage Day
Palestinian Heritage, Cause, and Identity
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) and The Know Your Heritage Inc. (KTH) celebrated the annual Palestinian Heritage Day at its Birzeit Social Development and Cultural Center (BSCC). Titled “Palestinian Heritage, Cause, and Identity,” the celebration was held on Thursday, November 10, 2022, which aims to preserve the cultural heritage of Palestine from the clutches and illegality of the Israeli occupation, maintain Palestinian identity, and ensure the continuity and survival of Palestinians on their land. Moreover, it is to strengthen the ties between the homeland and the Palestinian diaspora to create a permanent link between them and affirm Palestine as the land of holiness and opportunity.
During the cultural heritage activities at the BSCC, an exhibit showcased many handicrafts, ceramics, embroidery dresses, and paintings by Palestinian women artists. A main goal is to keep encouraging Palestinian women to produce handicrafts and embroideries that represent elements of Palestinian heritage for hundreds of years. Another is to educate the new generation about their Palestinian heritage so that it remains stuck in their memories no matter how long it takes and assure the transmission of this ancient heritage to future generations.
Students, teachers, and administrators from various schools participated in the celebration, including Atara Secondary Girls School, Al-Majida Wasila School, Tala’a Al-Nour School and Kindergarten, Beit Al-Rabie School and Kindergarten, and Birzeit Basic School, which performed several heritage segments represented by the Palestinian traditional dancing (Dabke), along with national poems expressing the Palestinian heritage, popular Palestinian proverbs to reflect Palestinian existence and history. In addition, they sang traditional Palestinian wedding songs.
The most distinguished segment was the Palestinian traditional song, the zajal, which is considered one of the pillars of folklore and Palestinian national identity. It is improvisational. and usually in the form of a debate between several singers (zajalin), based on traditional form of Arabic poetry that discusses Palestinian customs, heritage, and traditions, as documented over the years by poets and singers.
Palestine TV documented the Palestine Heritage Day and broadcasted it to the world in English, French, and Spanish. It conducted interviews with Palestinian personalities, including Dr. Mounir Anis Nasser, former Professor in Biochemistry at Birzeit University, who spoke in English; Dr. Hala Kaileh, Communication and Information Sciences from the University of Lyon, France, who spoke in French; and Brother Elias Issa of the Latin Patriarchate, who spoke in Spanish.
Sir Rateb Rabie, President and CEO of HCEF and KTH, stressed that the importance of Palestinian heritage, calling it “the historical stock of the Palestinian people.” This heritage is deeply rooted in the experiences of our Palestinian ancestors who inhabited the land of Palestine for millennia. Palestinian heritage gave Palestinians a unique imprint that distinguishes them from other nations. The Palestinian people have shared their heritage wherever they lived, which has impressed and inspired other nations to emulate Palestinians and appreciate their customs and traditions as well as their just cause and aspirations for national self-determination and independence.
The traditional food served affirmed Palestinian heritage in all its forms. It is a symbolic expression of how Palestinian heritage is preserved from extinction and passed on from generation to generation.
The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Birzeit, the Mayor of Atara, the Directorate of Education, the Unified Parents Council, members of the Advisory and Administrative Committee of the BSCC, legal personalities, and the people of Birzeit and Atara.
Special thanks are extended to the distinguished school principals, to the dedicated teachers who supervised the training of students and instilled in them the spirit of heritage, values, and history from a young age, and to all the supportive officials and institutions that contributed and or participated in commemorating Palestinian Heritage Day.
To donate, please use the following link: https://hcef.org/programs/bscc