To the sound of Palestinian folk songs and a Palestinian heritage atmosphere, Madaa Creative Center / Silwan organized a heritage day at the center’s club in Wadi Hilweh neighborhood in the village, with the participation of dozens of women from the village.
The heritage day included traditional rituals for celebrating the Palestinian wedding, including drawing bridal Henna designs. Women kneaded it and decorated it with flowers and sweets. They also had a celebration for the groom that used to occur in the midst of his town or village. In addition to the wedding dinner which was famously known for the Jresheh dish which is a traditional meal that Silwan was known for unlike all other villages and towns in and outside of Jerusalem. The women cooperated in making it, one prepared the meat, while another prepared the yogurt, and another chopped the tomatoes to prepare the Jreseh’s special sauce, while the forth woman prepared the wheat and rice.
The atmosphere of the wedding in the center was similar to how it used to be in that period, where a group of women wore the Palestinian traditional dress embroidered in distinctive colors and surrounded the bride who adorned her dress and jewelry and the groom who wore the traditional hat (Tarboush) and golden embroidered robe. They sang songs and zagareed to celebrate them.
Amal Sabah from Madaa Creative Center said that the goal of this heritage day is to preserve our Palestinian heritage targeted by the occupation, where the occupation tries to prevent us from wearing our Palestinian clothing and prevent us from practicing our daily rituals of weddings and other occasions. Hence we came up with the heritage day to be a meaningful message of existence and history.
Widad Siyam from Madaa Creative Center spoke on her behalf about the Silwan Jresheh- which she supervised in making with the help of others- She said: “we have inherited the Jresheh meal from our parents and grandparents and it is our favorite dish at weddings, no matter what dishes there are at weddings our Jresheh has to be present too, and our new generation makes sure to still have it available in their celebrations.”
Siam added: “this meal is made up of crushed wheat, meat and yogurt that is prepared with a special tool. It is distinct from the Jresheh that is cooked in the villages of Jerusalem, each village has its own way of preparing it, in Silwan, it is characterized by its dense yogurt and tomato sauce.”
And as for cooking it, Siyam added: “we usually soak the crushed wheat a night before cooking it or two hours before - at least - until the wheat opens and then we put it on the fire, when it starts boiling add one kilo of rice for each four kilograms of grain, then add the yogurt, and cooked meat stock after that it is served to the guests.