Palestinian heritage constitutes a significantly important component of the identity that stands witness to Palestinian culture, existence, and struggle, as the Israeli occupation seeks to distort and efface it from the memory and consciousness of Palestinians and to steal it, which makes it necessary for us to adhere to it and revive and accentuate it in various Palestinian occasions.
Hence the need comes for reviving popular heritage, preserving its artistic characteristics, and revealing its originality as a basic prerequisite for the perpetuation of the mark of deep-rooted culture, since the national art of any nation is the manifestation of the culture of the people across time and space.
Also, what distinguishes the city of Ramallah is this harmony and diversity in the context of unity, since Ramallah’s grandfather, Sheikh Saqr bin Rashid Al-Haddadin allied himself with Sheikh Hussein Tannash in the Jordanian desert, where they vowed to live together or die together. They immigrated together to Palestine and lived side by side in Ramallah, the city that abounds in this beautiful heritage of cultural and religious harmony, where the church stands next to the mosque, Christians live beside Muslims, and the minaret muazzen’s voice embraces the church tower with the sound of its bells.
Many people desired to live in Ramallah because of this general tendency toward acceptance of others, making Ramallah a place of attraction for many from various regions, environments, and religions who sought security and safety. This has also created a unique cultural diversity, in which everyone found what they aspired to. Consequently, this diverse city in its culture and tendencies was formed in the context of communication with strangers.
In the present day, one can say that popular heritage has gradually started to lack the importance of preserving it, despite the fact that popular heritage, as represented with popular traditions, Palestinian folkloric attire, and popular proverbs constitute an important part of our deep-rooted Palestinian heritage which we take pride in and cherish. Yet it is exposed to loss and marginalization due to cultural intrusion and technological advancements, which contribute significantly to the obscuring and the judaization of Palestinian identity, and the dissolution of the features of our heritage and Arab culture. Nonetheless, the Palestinian people, in the various locations of its existence, recalls it during celebrations, weddings, and national and popular festivals, and preserves it through the establishment of institutes and centers to document the popular heritage and the creation of exhibitions and popular concerts, in addition to establishing special centers for Palestinian folklore.
Interest in popular heritage and the need to preserve it have become urgent needs, since it is the popular and national wealth that is not specific to a given generation, but is a right for all the people and for all generations. The responsibility of saving it is an integral part of the national and human duty and mission of the Ramallah Municipality, which seeks to preserve and accentuate the Palestinian heritage in various activities and events throughout the year.