Culture, Food and Traditions in JWG


West Bank is a landlocked territory. The Palestine population in Gaza and the West Banks is estimated at 4.8 million. Over the past few years, Palestine’s economy has been declining, where 81% of its GDP comes from foreign aid.


Locals usually just smile and nod when passing each other, while saying “Al-salam ‘alaykum” (peace be upon you). It is also important to use correct titles when referring to elder relatives in the family as a sign of respect, even to those unrelated to you.


Cultural Dance:


Traditional costumes:

Children in traditional costumes made for folklore dancing

People in West Bank follow traditional Muslim practices, and their traditional outfits are usually made of long, loose-fitting white robes with turbans for men, and women usually cover their heads with a scarf.  Traditional Palestinian clothing can also be easily identified by the designs and colours of the traditional thobe an embroidered sleeved dress — which varies on the region the wearer originates from.

Days of celebration:

People of West Bank celebrate both Christian and Muslim events. The biggest celebrations are Christmas and Ramadan.

Local food:

Rice, beef, lamb, and vegetables with tomato sauce are staples in the Palestinian diet. Traditional specialities are mansaf (rice, lamb, yoghurt, bread and nuts), musakhan (bread with fried onions and chicken on top) and warsaw dawalee (stuffed grape leaves).

A family in the midst of making Kaaki Maamoul

For Easter, locals also bake special shortbread cookies known as Kaaki Maamoul. Customarily, women in the family gather to prepare these cookies that are baked with semolina, butter and filled with date paste, chopped walnuts or pistachios.

Fast Facts:

  1. Communities in West Bank are generally patriarchal, so celebrations marking the birth of a boy are often more pronounced than a girl.
  2. It is considered rude to point the bottom of one’s foot towards another person or to place one’s feet on a table or a chair.

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Written By: 
World Vision Singapore