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Beliefs, Values and Culture in the Palestinian House

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  • Pages: 10
  • Word count: 2251
  • Category: Honor

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Dima is an 18 year old Palestinian individual who has faced a lot of different situations that has helped her become who she is today. Her father and mother were both born in Palestine, they came to the United States in 2006 because her father thought they would have a better opportunity here. When her parents decide to move to America she explained how she could not come with them because she did not have papers, so she had to stay with her grandparents. She officially came to America two year later and has been living here since. This paper is going to take you into the Palestinian culture.

Language is an important factor in someone’s life, it is the way they communicate amongst each other. The main language that it is used in Palestine is Arab. Although some Palestinians do speak more than one language. Hebrew and English is also spoken by Palestinian people. Language is important for their culture because they use it to communicate with their family, friends, and community. Language is used for teaching purposes, media coverage, and written communication. Although Dima is Palestinian she can not speak Arabic because she did come here when she was young.

Beliefs, values, and perceptions in a Palestinian home are what makes up their culture. “Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts” (Zimmerman, par.1). For Palestinians family is very important to them. In a Palestinian home there are usually three generations living with them the parents, the children, and the grandparents. The reason being is that the grandparents really on their children financially and to be taken care of. A man in Palestinian culture is considered the leader of the family. They go out and get a job and provide for their family. A woman is considered the glue of the family. They stay home and take cake of the house and children by cleaning, cooking, and educating. Another thing is that Palestinian are very welcoming to their home, they are always prepared when it comes to guest. They always have sweets and coffee to offer them. Palestinians usually expect to have one or two guest each week so they have to be prepared. One important value that Palestinians have is they tend to have arranged marriages. Since woman have limited rights back in their country they are forced sometimes to be married. The father is the person in charge of deciding who the husband would be.

Religion is also very important in a Palestinian culture. Palestine is made up of three major religions Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The most practiced religion is Islam considering 75 percent of Palestinians are Muslim. While praying Muslims face mecca, because mecca is the spiritual center of Islam. They are expected to have made a pilgrimage to mecca at least once in their lifetime. Palestinians tend to pray up to five times a day. During the passing of someone they tend to mourn up to three days. For a widow and a mother they tend to wear black clothing up to one or three years. “Religious beliefs are often a source of very strongly held views that can cause religious conflict with others who may not share those views” (Martin, pg.240). This quote ties to the next two paragraphs because it is going to take you into the look of the conflicts that Palestine has faced and still faces.

Palestine is located in a very problematic place, it is located at the crossroads of Africa, Asia, and Europe. Because of this Palestine has been the battleground that these continents have used. Back to 1000 B.C.E the hebrews had established the kingdom of Israel, which as time went on it split into two, Judah and Israel. After the World War 1 and the fall of the Ottoman Empire Britain became the governor of Palestine.

One of the biggest problems that Palestine has faced and still faces today is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This conflict has started since mid-20th century and still has yet to be resolved. This occurred because of the Jewish immigration and the sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine. “ Language can sometimes lead to intercultural conflict, and it can also be the primary vehicle for solving intercultural conflict” (Martin, pg.232). This quote from the book is maybe the reason as to why it is difficult for them to agree on a agreement. Other reasons as to why they can not agree is because of mutual recognition, boarders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, Palestinian freedom of movement, and Palestinian right of return. There were many attempts to break the two-state solution, involving the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel. This is why Palestine has become a refugee camp home to many of the Palestinians that still reside there.

Dima came to the United States when she was young, her parents came here because they wanted a better future for their family. Which is the case for many Palestinians that decide to come here to the United States. The first group of immigrants that have come to the United States from Palestine came during the Ottoman Palestine in the late 19th century, they were escaping mistreatment. After some time more Palestinians started to immigrate due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The places that Palestinians migrated to where Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, and Detroit.

In Palestine making direct eye contact while talking to someone is considered disrespectful. Men shake hands upon meeting each other, and woman kiss each other on the cheek. It is not uncommon for Palestinian men to hold hands, hug each other, or even kiss on the cheek. But it is prohibited for men and women that are not blood related to touch. These are some non-verbal communication styles. “Nonverbal communication is communication through means other than language for example, facial expressions, personal space, eye contact, use of time, and conversational silence” (Martin, pg.175).

In Palestine there are traditions or holidays that are celebrated. One of them we celebrate as well, Easter is celebrated by Palestinians. It begins with Palm Sunday, when families in Jerusalem Christian Quarter prepare palm branches decorated with flowers and ribbons for the annual procession from Bethphage, a village on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives, to the Church of St. Anne inside Jerusalem’s Old City. At the procession end, Christian and Muslim Boy Scouts from all parts of Palestine circle the Old City walls, waving flags and playing music. Another tradition/holiday is Eid-al-Adha, this is known as the Festival of the Sacrifice. It takes place at the end of the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, and commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God. In honor of this feast, Muslim families slaughter a sheep and share it with families, neighbors and the needy, while gathering to celebrate together with food and sweets. Children are given gifts of money and new clothes.

Another one is the Eid al-Fitr, or the Fast-Breaking Feast. This marks the end of the month of Ramadan, believed by Muslims to be the month in which the Prophet Muhammad began to receive his divine revelation. Throughout the month, from sunrise to sunset, Muslims abstain from food, drink and intimacy. Families and friends gather each evening at sunset to break their fast together. Dates and milk are followed by light meals and sweets, like qatayef, a crepe-like pastry stuffed with ground nuts or cheese. Palestinian men commonly congregate at the mosque each evening for taraweeh prayers; one section of the Quran is read each evening, finishing the entire holy book by the end of the month. Eid al-Fitr is a joyous occasion that once again brings families together to share food and sweets. This is also a time of alms-giving for Palestinian Muslims, with money and food given to the less fortunate. Like myself and other Americans, Palestinians also celebrate holidays that we celebrate. They celebrate Christmas, Good Friday, and as I mentioned earlier Easter.

Christmas is celebrated by beginning with prayers and songs nine days before Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, the Patriarch of Jerusalem makes a traditional procession through Bethlehem and the faithful gather in Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity at midnight to celebrate the birth of Jesus. For centuries, they have been joined by pilgrims from around the world. Palestinian families celebrate Christmas with gift-giving, carols and traditional meals of roast lamb, sweets made with nougat and sesame seeds, roasted chestnuts, a hot, sweet drink of rosewater and nuts and semolina pancakes stuffed with nuts and cheese. Dima said that she gets together with family on these specific days and gets to celebrate with them.

Dima did talked about how she has faced discrimination because of her culture. She talked about how people would make stereotype comments about her when she was in middle school, so it was hard for her to make friends. “Stereotypes are widely held beliefs about a group of people and are a from of generalization a way of categorizing and processing information we receive about other in our daily life” (Martin, pg 59). This quote was from our textbook and I agree with it because Palestinians and anybody who appears to look Muslim is discriminated against by because of their looks. One stereotype that is held against Palestinians is that they are terrorist. Ever since 9-11 occured Americans have this image imprinted on their heads of what a terrorist looks like only because they remember the person that caused that tragedy. So anyone who has that appearance is automatically considered a terrorist. Which is why I find this quote to tie into this problem “ The social forces that give rise to particular identities are always changing” (Martin, pg. 101).

Palestinian cuisine is made up of some recipes from Middle Eastern and East Mediterranean. Although Palestinian cuisine has its own unique twist which makes it different. There are a lot of different types of foods that they have, they all change due to the people. Each person has their own way of cooking the dishes, but at the end they still end up with the same dish. Some dishes include falafel (deep fried chickpea balls or patties), hummus (ground chickpeas with garlic and lemon juice), tahini (sesame paste), lamb, chicken, rice, nuts, and eggplant. When palestinians eat they sit on mats or cushions around a cloth laid on the floor and they use pita bread, called khubz, to scoop up their food. For drinking they tend to drink a lot of Turkish coffee.

Clothing in Palestine has changed over the years due to the new generation but its still traditional. For woman they are expected to wear a long black peasant dress , called a thob, with embroidered bodice, and a shawl over their heads and shoulder. For men they are expected to wear a long loose robe called a jallabiyeh and the common Arab headscarf. These types of clothing are usually worn by the older generation. The new generation usually wears Western-style clothing with a traditional head-scarf covering the hair.

Like any other culture Palestinian people have their own type of music and dance moves that they prefer. For dancing purposes they have this style called The Dabke, this dance can be performed by anyone woman, men, and children. This dance is traditional and it goes back to many years. This dance is used for weddings and joyful celebrations. The dancing is also separated by gender, men dance with men, and woman dance with woman. The type of music they listen to is folk tunes traditional which include ala dal’ona and zareef al toul. This tunes could be heard at weddings and big festivals. Some traditional Palestinian instruments include oud, shebbabeh, rababeh, mijwiz, yarhgoul, nay, buzuk, and the qanoun.

Honor for a Palestinian family is very important in their eyes. The woman are usually depended to carry on their family’s honor. Education is another big part of honor. Both men and women are expected to be educated. For them education is something they exceed in because they tend to have the highest percentage of university graduates in the Arab world. Having a connection to their land is also seen as honor.

What I learned about my culture is that it is kind of similar to the Palestinian culture. In some ways we do the same things, for example when guest come over my mom is always offering food and drinks to the guest she always makes sure we are prepared to receive guest. Another similarity is that I as well get discriminated against just because of my culture. Palestinians ever since 9-11 they get more discriminated against, and ever since Trump became president Mexicans are also being more discriminated against. I also learned that we need to become better at accepting different cultures. The amount of hate that is going on in this country has to stop, when I interviewed Dima I asked her if she wishes she was anywhere else other than America. She said that she did wish she was somewhere else because she has never seen such a hateful and discriminated country as this one even though we are supposed to be diverse and I agree with her. So I believe that we can change, we could make America a better country not just for us but for anyone who is different no matter where you come from or what your background is you should be able to be accepted anywhere.

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