Amti Tooteh -- the Star of the Show
Al Nasher has always been interested in preserving Palestinian heritage and has implemented several projects in the past to further this important cause. In line with this cause, and for two years in a row, Al Nasher has been involved in the development of the Birzeit Heritage Week Festival public relations and social media campaigns.
In June 2013, Rozana Association launched the sixth installment of the Birzeit Heritage Week at the historic old city of Birzeit. For the second year in a row. The week is an amazing effort to preserve Palestinian heritage and bring through further development to the Palestinian countryside. Whether it is the traditional wedding held during the opening of the festival, or the newly introduced Palestine dress competition, the week’s activities bring Palestinian heritage to the spot light.
Facebook page for Birzeit Heritage Week Designed and Managed by Al Nasher
This year however, another important element came to play; Amti (Aunt) Tooteh is starring the show! The cartoon character is based on a real old lady from Birzeit who participates yearly in the heritage week and especially in the traditional wedding and songs. Amti Tooteh introduced the festival and its activities to facebookers and other Palestinians through Palestine TV. She was featured on the week’s poster and all the festival’s memorabilia. Amti Tooteh was an instant hit from the minute the first animated spot was posted to facebook. In her first clip, Amti Tooteh speaks to her long gone neighbor about volunteering youth renovating the old houses and tells her, and her son, to return and join the efforts.
Moreover, Amti Tooteh recites verses from traditional songs in different poses posted on the facebook page and encourages participation of Heritage Week followers to post versus from songs they know. (see image below)
The character of Amti Tooteh is based on an actual old Lady from Birzeit, Amti Margarete, who participates every year in the festival, but this year her participation took a new flavor with all the attention Amti Tooteh has been gaining after her appearances on Palestive TV and on social media websites. Amti Tooteh was even part of Dr. Laila Ghannam’s speech (Governor of Ramallah and Al Bireh) and other dignitaries at the festival opening.
Amti Tooteh carrying Henna and walking hand in hand with the Governor
From the minute the crowds gathered to the start the traditional wedding procession, Amti Tooteh was there carrying over her head the Henna dough decorated with flowers. Traditionally the eldest woman of the family, or the village, prepares the Henna dough at the bridegroom’s house and then carries it over her head in a procession to the bride’s house. At the bride’s house, the hands and feet of the bride are decorated with the Henna. Henna, in Palestine, has been a sign for joy and celebration as it is usually connected with weddings and happy times. This year, four couples celebrated their wedding and Henna at the Birzeit Heritage Week wearing their traditional Palestinian embroidered dresses.
It was a wonderful celebration and Amti Tooteh was its star! She was even saluted by the Governor who said “Amti Tooteh embodies our heritage and land and all what is good about it!”