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The Well in Artas

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

The village Artas near Bethlehem is famous for its well. The Prophet Al-Khader or St. George used to drink from the water of this well since it was holy. Nowadays women and children still fill their bottles and jars with fresh water from the well.

The water of the well fulfils various needs. The villagers often face a water shortage, especially during the Summer when there is sometimes(...)

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Al-KHADER

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

The following is a folklore version of a narrative told in the Koran, relayed by Moslems from Al-Khader (the village to the south-west of Bethlehem were Al-Khader, or St George, is said to have been born).

The story is about Musa (or Moses), the Great Lawgiver, who sometimes had difficulties understanding the dealings of the divine Providence, and then asked Allah for advice. Allah sen(...)

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BEDOUIN FOOD

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

To understand Arab and Palestinian food traditions it is important to go back to one of the roots of Arabic culinary culture: Bedouin life. Traditionally, Middle Eastern Bedouin followed a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle. They lived in tents made of camel or goat hair. The Bedouin in the Negev tended sheep and camels which provided them with cheese, butter and yoghurt. The yoghurt was dried(...)

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The Virgin Mary and the plowmen

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

When the Virgin Mary, peace be on her, was on the flight to Egypt with the son in her arms, she passed by some plowmen making furrows in their field. She said to them: "Though today you are only sowing, before the sun rises tomorrow morning, your field will be ready to harvest. But remember, if anyone comes this way and asks about me, say, "She was here just as we were getting ready to plant (...)

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The Meaning of Bread in Palestine

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

It is usage in Palestine to serve bread with almost every dish. The women used to make it in the oven which they shared with others in the neighbourhood or village, the tabun. Most of the wheat came on a camel's back from Beersheba, 90 kilometer away from Bethlehem, to the town's Saturday market. People used to buy a supply enough for one year. They kept it in stores next to their houses to p(...)

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Home-Made Snacks in Palestine

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

Turmus: Soak dried grains for twelve hours, boil until ripe, change water daily for three days till the turmus is not anymore bitter, serve with salt.

Full: Soak corn for twelve hours, boil till ripe, take off water and serve the full hot or cold with salt.

Balila: Soak chickpeas for twelve hours, boil until ripe, take off water and serve hot or cold with salt.

Bushar: He(...)

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The Olive Tree

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

When the Prophet Mohammed died all trees mourned and cast their leaves. Then came one and said to the olive tree: "Oh Olive Tree, the Prophet is dead and all trees mourn -- Why don't you mourn?" The Olive Tree replied: "Break my wood and see the grief in my heart. So he broke the branch from the tree and saw the grief in her heart. Her grief was in her soul and therefore not seen by man. That(...)

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Song from Artas

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

"I love pears and I eat pears

And the girls of Artas are sweet, my Mother

I love pomegranates and I eat pomegranates

And the girls of Silwan are sweet, my Mother."

From: “Sahteen: Discover the Palestinian Culture by Eating”, published by the Freres School, Bethlehem, part of the Culture and Palestine series issued by the Arab Educational Institute-Open Windows, Bet(...)

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The Old Man and the Fig Tree

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

One day, Caliph Harun went out riding. In the fields he saw a very old fellah planting a fig tree. Surprised to see a man who was planting a tree for fruit from which he could hardly hope to eat, he approached the man. "Inshalla," the old man said, "if I might not taste the fruit of this tree, my sons might do, just as I have eaten the fruit of the trees planted by my father." The Caliph aske(...)

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Herbs of Palestine

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

Shomar (fennel). This plant grows wild and is gathered for salads and used for medicinal purposes.

Miryamia (mint). When Mary fled from King Herod to Egypt with her child Jesus, she sat down under the shade of a scrub. She took a sprig and wiped with the leaves the sweat from her face. Finding refreshment she said to the plant: "Be thou blessed forever." Since that day the plant is cal(...)

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