Cultural Considerations

Palestinian People

No matter where you are in Palestine, you will always encounter the famous Palestinian hospitality and warmth. Palestinians possess a unique culture and a distinctive diversity that can quickly captivate you once you attempt to explore it. The Palestinian people from all walks of life come together to offer you a memorable experience whether staying with a Palestinian or Bedouin family.

Language

The local language is Arabic, although most Palestinians also know a second or even third language, such as English, Spanish, or French. It is extremely helpful to learn greetings, basic phrases, and numbers in Arabic before arriving in Palestine; this will assist when paying for food, asking for directions, or taking a taxi. For that you can check out the Arabic language phrasebook on our website.

Dress Code

It is important to note that modest dress is recommended. You will see many women fully-covered, and even men typically do not expose much skin, as might be customary in many other countries. Especially in places of worship, such as mosques and churches, and smaller Bedouin villages, it is necessary to cover up lots of exposed skin.

Technology

You may be surprised to find that modern technology in the form of Internet or smart phones is ever present, not just in big cities, but even in small Bedouin villages.

Traffic and Driving

Traffic and driving in Palestine is adventurous; all drivers, taxis included, do their fair share of honking, weaving through lanes, and butting their way to the front of the line in the every-man-for-himself streets of Palestine. The people of Palestine are always warm and friendly, except when they are competing with you to get through a yield sign.

Traditions:

  • The Blessed Tree: Olive Harvesting

Today, the olive fruit harvest (October – November) remains the most celebrated event in Palestine. School children are given a holiday to accompany their families in this time-honored activity.

  • Palestinian Wedding

Weddings in villages may be attended by all its inhabitants. Both Muslim and Christian weddings are similar in their heritage representations and traditional illustrations. Weddings are open for guests to participate.

  • The Moment of Happiness: Henna

Henna is the powder of a plant mixed with water or tea and applied in designs on the bride’s arms and legs. It is considered as a sign of happiness.

Folklore:

  • Folklore Dancing (Dabkeh)

Dabkeh means stamp of the feet, which is the basic movement for the dance, either in a straight line, in an arch or in a circle. Dabkeh is deeply rooted in the Palestinian culture and is often performed at joyful celebrations, especially at weddings. Shows are available upon requests.

  • Music

While modern, popular music is widespread, traditional folk tunes-like ala Dal’ona and Zareef at Toul – are still an important part of life in Palestine. Folk tunes are often performed at big festivals, folk dances, and weddings (both during the Zaffeh, when the bride is brought to the groom’s house, and the Sahra, the evening festivities that occur the night before the actual wedding). Some of the traditional Palestinian musical instruments are the Oud, Shebbabeh, Rababeh, Mijwez, Yarhgoul, Nay, Buzuk and the Qanoun.