Qais and Yaman
Contributed by Turathuna Bethlehem University on 28.01.2007:
Few of the younger generation in the Bethlehem District are aware that this District, as well as the other Districts in Palestine, was divided between Qais and Yaman, the two tribes which settled here. It is believed that the tribe of Qais came from Hijaz to the north of the Arabian Peninsula, and that the tribe of Yaman came from Yaman in the south of the Arabian Peninsula.
In the Arab Peninsula tribal conflicts were predominant between them and continued even in the countries they conquered. The intensity of the quarrels and conflicts did not subside until this century.
The oral traditions still in circulation assert that Bethlehem and Beit Sahour are Yaman and Beit Jala is Oais. Each tribe had its own color. Red was Qais’s colour and white Yaman’s. The tribal colour appeared on the flag and was worn by its members, and also appeared on women’s veils, and even the bride’s head cover and veil. When wearing red, the Qaisi bride was prevented from crossing a Yamani region while on her wedding procession. Likewise if the Yamani bride had to cross a Qaisi region, she had to change her white clothes and put on red ones. There are numerous inherited stories, many now forgotten, about the killing or wounding of many people at Bab iz-Qaq in the wake of quarrels between the two sides when these traditions were ignored.
Source:”Bethlehem, The Immortal Town” by Giries Elali