The 6th installment of the Birzeit Heritage Week come back with many new innovations. How can we make people more interested in their heritage? Well I am happy to see that this year’s festival has found a couple of new ways to do just that. In my last post, I wrote about Amti (Aunt) Tooteh and her animated cartoon spots, but this week Amti Tooteh was starring the show at the Birzeit Heritage Week!
The character of Amti Tooteh was based on an actual old Lady from Birzeit, Amti Margarete, who participates every year in the festival, but this year her participation took a new flavor with all the attention Amti Tooteh has been gaining after her appearances on Palestive TV and on social media websites. Amti Tooteh was even part of Dr. Laila Ghannam’s speech (Governor of Ramallah and Al Bireh).
From the minute the crowds gathered to the start the traditional wedding procession, Amti Tooteh was there carrying over her head the Henna dough decorated with flowers. Traditionally the eldest woman of the family, or the village, prepares the Henna dough at the bridegroom’s house and then carries it over her head in a procession to the bride’s house. At the bride’s house, the hands and feet of the bride are decorated with the Henna. Henna, in Palestine, has been a sign for joy and celebration as it is usually connected to weddings and happy times.
This year, four couples about to be wed participated in the traditional wedding procession and Henna at the Birzeit Heritage Week wearing their traditional Palestinian embroidered dresses.
Not only did the brides get the Henna on their hands, but also the Governor and other officials had their share of the joy!
It was a wonderful celebration and Amti Tooteh was its star! She was even saluted by the Governor who said “Amti Tooteh embodies our heritage and land and all what is good about it!”
— Jack Rabah