St. Barbara’s Day, or Eid al-Burbara, is a Christian holiday observed each December in Palestine and neighboring countries.
The holiday commemorates the early Christian martyr St. Barbara, who tradition holds was imprisoned in a tower by her father after her conversion. Some believe that when she escaped her father’s captivity, wheat grew around her miraculously, hiding her trail.
Most Christian Palestinians belong to the Eastern Greek Orthodox and Western Latin traditions, which observe St. Barbara’s Day on varying calendar dates.
A wheat-based dish called burbara is traditionally made on St. Barbara’s Day.
“It is known that the wheat seed is a blessing, and if the wheat seed is not planted in the earth, it will not sprout into a new plant,” says Ghada Tarazi, a Palestinian Christian in Gaza.
There are approximately 200,000 Christians in Palestine.
Like their Muslim counterparts, they are often prevented from visiting some holy sites and practicing their traditions.
Video by Ruwaida Amer and Sanad Abu Latifa.