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Badriyyeh’s shrine (near Beit Jala)

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 21.06.2006:

Not only Moslems vowed at religious shrines which were not their own. In their turn, Christians performed vows at Moslem places. For instance, the Christian women of Beit Jala used to visit the tomb of Badriyyeh (or “moon”) to the west of town in the village of Waladjeh. Badriyyeh was a female weli known for her effective intercessions. The Palestinian folklorist Tawfiq Canaan provides an extensive account of the stories connected with the famous sultan Bader, her father, who came from Persia in the 7th century to roam the countryside west of Bethlehem and help the Moslem armies in their siege of Jerusalem. He was said to have been able to multiply loaves of bread and to create a series of wells on the hills by breaking a water jar and dispersing the shreds all over the ground. Religious folklore often borrows from older narratives to serve a new context. At Badriyyeh’s shrine, the Christians followed the old practices of putting candles and hanging pieces of clothes on iron bars; they even gave their jewelry.



Copyright: Arab Educational Institute, Bethlehem, 1999

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