Cultural events and Traditions
A visit to a Rozana event is to be immersed in the sounds, visions, aromas, rituals, and products of Palestine’s cultural landscape – from the vigorous “dabke” dance to the bride’s henna ritual, from the elaborate embroideries by village women to the perfume of “zatar”, from the joyful noise of the Scout bagpipers to the solemnity of traditional Palestinian ballads and songs. Rozana recognizes that culture is a powerful force. For the visitor it can provide a connection between diverse people through shared experiences. For the villager it can be a tool for economic improvement. For Palestine culture is an inheritance and identity that Rozana and its partners are attempting to preserve.
Trails and Tours
The Palestinian landscape is a land of remnants – the remains of the numerous peoples who have traversed the country – Roman ruins, Crusader citadels, 3rd century Christian churches, 12th century Islamic mosques, Sufi shrines (“maqams”), Ottoman architecture, and Mamluk homes. It isa land of green grape vines and terraced olive trees, brown cliffs of stone, and golden dunes of sand. There are steep hills for climbing and more level terrain for walking. Rozana designs trails to explore all of these, of varying lengths and difficulty to suit individual travelers. Local guides are experienced hikers with English language skills and knowledge of local history.
Rozana works to strengthen human resources, organizations and institutions in Birzeit and surrounding villages. Improving the status of women and leadership skills for youth was the initial focus. Rozana’s newest project strives to create a social and political framework based on democratic practices, gender equity and protection of human rights. Work of this nature is inevitably complex and requires sensitivity to villagers’ needs and feelings as well as patience, persistence and commitment to the goals of improving rural economies and preserving Palestine’s cultural heritage. Rozana’s long history of building strong community connections create a platform on which this project can move forward.
Rozana strives to protect, restore and rehabilitate the unique, often ancient, architecture of Palestine’s rural landscape with the goal of creating modern living spaces and community resources while simultaneously preserving Palestine’s architectural heritage. The initial project was immense: the rebuilding of Birzeit’s historic center, in collaboration with many other organizations, primarily RIWAQ. Since then Rozana has expanded its vision to the shrines (“maqams”), khans, and other historic buildings beyond Birzeit. Future projects include adding playgrounds to Sufi shrine sites and opening a site for weaving Majdalawi fabric.
The village – unrecognized by tourism promoters and omitted from many tourists’ itineraries – is the heart of Palestinian life. It is where authentic Palestinian culture resides, where millenia-old rituals are still practiced, and where visitors can engage in person-to-person interactions in real-life settings. With funding from the E. U. Open Network for Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism, Rozana is developing cultural destinations and tours of village clusters, each with unique environments, antiquities, traditions, and activities. Included are accommodations (guest houses or a Bedouin tent), opportunities for participating in village activities, and time for exploring Palestine’s ecology.