Couple in a traditional Palestinian wedding
Ramallah – Sona Al Deak
The 5th Palestinian Heritage Week 2012 began Wednesday evening in the town of Birzeit in the centre of the West Bank.
The events of the first day of the festival commenced with a traditional Palestinian wedding and Zaffah (Arabic wedding march) of brides and grooms who are newly-married, under the supervision of the Al-Somod Foundation for Palestinian heritage and in collaboration with the Father Anton Buzo Centre for the Elderly in Birzeit.
The first day also included a concert by Tony Qattan, a clown show, and the international Dam Rap band supported by the French-German Cultural Centre.
Heritage Week is the culmination of a series of programmes and activities which have neem organised by the Alrozna Association since the beginning of the year.
The festival activities will continue until Sunday July 1, and will include economic, cultural and social activities in the old town, providing a platform for those countries interested in a cultural exchange with the local community.
Governor of Ramallah and al-Bireh, Leila Ghannam, spoke at the opening of the festival, sending greetings from the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the participants. She praised the role of the festival in preserving the Palestinian heritage: 'It is a tribute to the steadfastness of our people and our ongoing quest to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
Minister of tourism and Palestinian monuments, Rula Maaiah, added that heritage is what is passed down to the Palestinians from their forebears, and will be inherited by the younger generations in the future to learn and interact with it, and the cycle will continue.
Maaiah affirmed the importance of working to preserve the cultural and environmental heritage of Palestine, and to promote it internationally in harmony with the needs of the local community, which would raise the economic and social levels of the nation.
Mayor of Birzeit, Youssef Nasser, explained that Heritage Week in Birzeit has become an annual tradition, not only to preserve the cultural heritage but to support rural development.
Representative of the European Union to the Palestinian Authority, John Gatti Rutter, praised the Heritage Week and the organisers saying, “It creates an environment of cultural exchange between countries and is working on the development of the Palestinian countryside, along with encouraging the participation of young people and women to volunteer in the events.”