"Ramadan Nights"
An example of Seraj Community Programs

Layali Ramadaniye 2017  

Ramadan is so much more than a month of fasting during daylight hours. It is a time of forgiveness, of celebration, of doing charitable acts for neighbors and a special time of gathering with friends and family. After the fast is broken, in the evening people gather together to eat their first meal of the day with their loved ones, and often times nowadays, that meal is followed by watching a famous TV series together.

But there is a centuries old tradition in the middle east of connecting with one another through songs and storytelling following the breaking of the fast. Working together with the Goethe Institute, the Bibliobus, and our local partner organizations in each community, we celebrated “Ramadan Nights” in our libraries for the second year in a row. Last year we were surprised by the number of people in each community who attended the night of songs, poetry, dance and storytelling.  And this year we were stunned… in all, we had thousands of people joyfully participating in the six day event which was a true celebration of Palestinian traditions.

Following his performance, one of the Dabke dancers asserted that each time his foot hits the floor in his traditional dance steps he is reclaiming his heritage. Our resident story-teller, Fida’a, agreed, affirming with each story she performs, she is giving new life to lost Palestinian stories. In order to empower and strengthen communities it’s also important to affirm and celebrate where they come from. Six joyful nights during Ramadan played a small role for our communities.                                              
  Laurie Salameh, Ramallah

Click here to view a 2 minute video from the 2016 Storytelling Festival, a part of the Seraj Ramadan Nights program.