marHaba! My name is Nida Hameed and I am currently an Arabic student in my junior year here at Loyola. I recently attended a Palestinian Culture Night that was held on campus and I was marveled at the amount of culture and history I was surrounded by. The culture shined through the performances, food, decorations, and dresses that were at the event. The event was held in Damen MPR and the decorations mirrored the colors of the Palestinian flag with dim lighting. There were many students dressed in fancy, traditional Arab clothes.
I personally had the chance to wear a beautiful, authentic Palestinian dress decorated with red tatreez embroidery, which is the red patterns on the borders and belt of the dress. Several students also donned the keffiyeh, which has come to become a strong symbol of Palestinian nationalism. Additionally, there was a dabke performance by al-Salam Dabke, a professional dabke group. Dabke is a traditional Arabic folk dance that involves many intricate steps and circle dancing. Once the performance was over, we all had a chance to join a dabke circle and try to do the steps ourselves. There was also Arab food served at the event that included rice, hummus, baba ghanoush, and different meats. There was knafeh for dessert, which is a traditional Arabic dessert made with thin noodles and cheese soaked in a sugar syrup. A lot of these were all food that we learned to name in class. Also, there were several students from my class section that were present as well!
It was really amazing to see some of the cultural aspects we have discussed in class come alive in front of me. I was also very surprised at my ability to name several things in Arabic. I was able to name the foods, the colors of the decorations, and several items at the event in Arabic, which really allowed me to reflect on the amount of Arabic I have learned within just one semester. While it illustrated how much I learned, it also illustrated the extent of my vocabulary, motivating me to make sure I learn more so I could name and talk about even more things in Arabic.