Families celebrate Palestinian culture, heritage in Ninth Birzeit Nights Festival

Approximately six thousand people enjoyed two nights of musical performances and art shows at the Ninth Birzeit Nights Festival, held on the university’s campus on August 6 and 7, 2019. 

First held in 1984, the Birzeit Nights Festival is an annual series of performances and events that celebrate the culture and traditions of Palestine. The festival includes concerts and shows presented by local dance troupes and artists who showcase the Palestinian collective identity and heritage.

Attending the festival were President of Birzeit University Abdullatif Abuhijleh, the Palestinian Minister of Culture Atef Abu Saif, and several Palestinian political, academic, and social luminaries. 

In his welcoming remarks, Abdullatif highlighted the university’s role in preserving and promoting Palestinian culture and heritage, citing its efforts to bolster and disseminate the traditions and customs of Palestine locally, regionally, and internationally. 

“The university,” Abuhijleh added, “believes that its role extends beyond providing a leading educational experience. It is part and parcel of the Palestinian community and has an essential role in promoting and disseminating Palestinian history and culture.” 

Abu Saif praised Birzeit University’s endeavors to preserve and advance Palestinian culture, saying that events such as the Birzeit Nights Festival figure significantly in the Palestinian people’s struggle towards independence and statehood. “This is a conflict of narratives, culture, and heritage. Bolstering our ties to our heritage, customs, and traditions means bolstering our ties to this land,” he said. 

The first day of the festival featured performances by Le Trio Joubran, an oud trio comprising the brothers Samir, Wissam, and Adnan Joubran, and Al-Istiqlal Folkloric Dance Troupe. The second day featured performances by Siraj Choir, Birzeit University’s Sanabel Group, and Naqsh Popular Art Troupe. 

All of the proceeds generated by the festival will go towards Birzeit University’s Student Fund to help low-income students finance their studies at the university.