Memories of the Olive Harvest Festival

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It was a perfectly beautiful day. We were greeted by a lovely Palestinian woman who gave our delegation a tour of Canaan where olive oil and spices are sold and where the factory which produces olive oil is housed.

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After the tour we ate a delicious lunch while we listened to dynamic, foot-stomping Arabic songs. We were served drinks by a man with a beverage urn decorated with roses strapped to his back, who had perfected the art of pouring.

After lunch we gathered to watch the dancing of a group of Palestinian men while the singer belted out his songs. The joy of the men dancing was infectious. As I looked around, I saw smiles of delight on the faces of so many men and women. The women were dressed in their finest.

A young girl of nine approached me and asked my name in English. I responded, and we had a short conversation with her very limited English and my extremely limited Arabic. Despite this, we became fast friends

As I watched the men dancing, one of them beckoned me to join them. At first, I refused, not wanting to offend religious sensibilities. When he beckoned to me a second time, I joined them. I danced for a short while feeling the warmth, friendliness, and joie de vivre of the dancing men and the singer. As I broke away from the dance, a few women smiled at me.

The warmth and the friendliness of the people at the festival reflected the warmth, friendliness and hospitality of all the Palestinian people we had met during our rich experience in Palestine.