Monday, December 22, 2014

Debka: Palestinian Folk Dance

Palestinian Folklore: Debka

Keeping Palestinian Traditions Alive

The tradition of debka dance has several variations among Mediterranean regions and the Tigris River, but ever since 1948 debka has taken on a new meaning for Palestinians. Palestinian debka has become a very important tool at instilling in the Palestinian a sense of identity and steadfastness in the younger generation.

For example, the lyrics for Al Zareefa at-Tloo originally told the story of a two lovers who are expressing the pain of separation. After 1948, the lyrics came to express the pain and homesickness of Palestinians in the Diaspora who were separated from their homeland and loved one. Some of the lyrics to the song are included in the next paragraph.

Oh Zareef al-Tool stop so I can tell you
You are going abroad and your country is
Better for you
I am afraid that you will get established there
And find someone else and forget me

Illustrations of the debka date back to the Phoenicians where drawing on pottery show the act of dancing in circles around a piper. Another narrative on the origins of the debka dance describes the thumping the floor hard with the feet as representing the act of compacting dirt, straw and mud into a material to use to make the roofs of Palestinian homes. The stomping represents pastoral work scenes from tilling the soil, harvesting, planting, and celebrating the rain. The stomping eventually led to a rhythmic dance movements and songs.

Instruments that accompany debka are the oud or lute (, mijwiz or clarinet, tablah or hand drum, and daff or tambourine

In the majority of dance, the female dancers wear the traditional Palestinian costume. 
For additional information on the traditional Palestinian costume:

Marcel Rabayy’a, a debka choreographer, describes debka as an expression of humanity and after viewing some debka dances in the links underneath the love and passion these dancers put into the art is clearly a hallmark of the dance.


Videos of the debka being preformed at various Palestinians functions are included for easy access:


Boycott for Peace!


Use the buttons below to e-mail, reblog, tweet, share, or pin:

No comments:

Post a Comment