The Nabi Musa Festival Under British-Ruled Palestine

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Palestinian national identity arose during the period of British rule (1917-1948). The Nabi Musa (Prophet Moses) festival - mawsim al-Nabi Musa - provides us with an example of how a religious ritual celebrated within a colonial context shaped nationalist ideas. Rituals, such as festivals and pilgrimages serve as arenas for the interaction of various social groups, each of which possesses its own agendas and discourses on questions of order in society. In British-ruled Palestine, powerful social groups such as the Palestinian political leaders and the British colonial authorities used the Nabi Musa festival to promote a conservative version of Palestinian nationalism, one which remained anti-Zionist but which avoided expressing popular discontent regarding British occupation.