Element Inventory Form (EL Nakhla)


ESFT  30/2016

Code of Element

EL Nakhla, EL Nakliel

Native Element Name


Other Name(s) of the Element (if any)

Local Society

Commitments of communities, groups or individuals concerned

Sub-regional / regional (more than one country)


Scope of the Element

Generally Palm Tree is spread among Egyptian living areas, still it is heavy located in the Oasis; in the Wadi El Gidied (The New Valley governorate), Siwa Oasis (Matrouh Governorate) Nubia (Aswan Governorate), all the Upper Egypt and Nile Delta areas (Fayoum, Domieta, Giza, Rasheed.. Most of the Egyptian districts has Palm Trees and consider it part of their life. Egypt according to the official statistics more than 15 million Palms.

Geographic Location of the Element


Name (s) of collector (s)


Place and Date of Collection

Free, Prior and Informed Consent to the Nomination

Egyptian Society of Folk Traditions

Established on: April 12th, 2000  No: 1434

UNESCO No : 90182  Based on Meeting No: GA-2012.4

Concerned Specialized party

Name: Dr. Ahmed Ali Morsi

Address: 47 Soliman Gowhar st, Dokki, Giza, Egypt

Telephone: 0237626702- 0237624409

Responsible Person

Palm Tree is a common and exceptional tree spreads all over Egypt, it grow in the Oasis, deserts, Nubia, Upper Egypt, Nile Delta and Coastal governorates. Palm Tree has a spiritual status as it shows clearly in the Arab and religion heritage beside its functional role in the communities, Coptic celebrate “Palm Sunday“ by making special shapes from palm leaves and keep them in their houses as a bless over the year while some Muslims share with them this tradition. In the holly month of Ramadan people believe that they must break their fasting by eating a date, in Baharia Oasis the local community practice a specific custom during wedding celebrations called “El Bessbasa” when the groom visits the Bride for the first time in a procession hanging the presents in a structure made from palm leaves and sing special songs describe the gifts accompanied by the traditional musical instruments .People in the local communities get benefit from every single part of the palm, there are 14 crafts related to palm tree: making threads from its fibers, ceilings of the houses from the trunks, basketry for many purposes (storage, measuring, serving, containers for fruits and decoration items), furniture (beds- sofas – chairs – tables), extracting oil from date pits – drying dates – animal fodders from the remains, also traditional food and beverages from dates, beside a huge amount of oral traditions related to palm are transmitted from generation to generation (songs – tales – poems – proverbs). Palm core is very precious it is the best welcome dessert can be offered to the guest or in the wedding celebration also it has a great role in healing from many diseases and from magic. Both men and women are involved in practices related to palm trees (men work in threads, ceilings, furniture and some kinds of basketry and rugs while women work mainly in basketry, sweepers and dried dates).

Who are the bearers of the element:

The community of the bearers of the habits, beliefs ,skills, crafts related to palm tree includes everyone in the local community grow it, from all the social classes and ages as well as gender and religions. They inherited the tradition related to palm even if they don’t own fields of it. However there is a gender division during the different process, for example, climbing palm is a man work while drying dates is women s and they share basketry. Transmitting the knowledge about growing palms and taking care of it is the responsibility of the old generation in the local communities. Craftsmen hand down the knowledge to boys and girls who show interest to continue with the skill and encourage the new generation to keep the traditions and supply the market with its tangible and intangible outputs or products. The performing arts related to palm include all the categories of people and in all the social and religious ceremonies.


How are the knowledge and skills related to the element transmitted:

The specific features of Knowledge, habits, beliefs, crafts and oral tradition concerning the Palm Tree are transmitted from generation to generation orally in a very early age in villages, oasis and deserts. They transmit it through tales, songs, myth, beliefs. Young girls share with their mothers drying dates under the heat of sun and watching them making colored baskets, sweepers and containers, with a very simple and basic tools, for many purposes each has a specific name, shape and function. Once dates shows in the head of the palm each one in the community is prepared to take part in getting benefit, work, play, sing or celebrate with a part of it. Craftsmen hand down the knowledge to the boys who show interest to continue with the skill, specially some of these crafts are seasonal and they don’t need to leave school for it. Coptic palm leaves shapes transmitted easily within the Coptic community to a younger generation of craftsmen to be sell in front of the churches as a part of the feast celebration, parents are keen to keep the tradition in celebrating the Palm Feast every year and they usually share it with Muslims. The palm trees products are common in the urban communities also where people still use them as an authentic decorations item beside the functional usages in all classes.


What social functions and cultural meanings does the element have today:

Palm tree and its products are expressions of cultural and social traditions and they reflect the identity of the practitioners. Large number of the population in these communities work in the palm leaves products, they work in teams with a gender and age distribution of it, each one in the community has its specific role.

Ownership of palm trees determine the social class and wealth in the community, exchanging the dates and offering a core of the palm to guests and in the occasions strengthen the social relation.In the oasis working in collecting dates or taking care of palms are matters of co-operation in the community when all offer help in this hard work.

Before Palm Sunday people from all religions start to shape the wet green leaves in a very special artistic figures consider a very identical feature of celebrating this feast.

There are many beliefs related to climbing palm such as Above all, palm tree traditions, performances, knowledge and crafts is living culture with a symbolic and social character in all classes, gender, ages and religions.

Description of the Element (not to exceed 300 words) What, who, where, how, when 




Present Function of the Element



(Books & Written Material) 

The Egyptian Archive for Life and Folk Traditions include the following related material:

Videos: 0

Photos: 0

Audios: 0

Audio-Visual Sources Concerning the Element Archives, Museums or oral Traditions  

·         Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;

·         Social practices, rituals and festive events;

·         Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;

·         Traditional craftsmanship.

Domains Represented by the Element 

Material Aspects of the Element 


Contexts where the Element is practiced  

Means of Transmission


Present Condition of the Element  


Current and Recent Efforts and Measures to Safeguard the Element


Threats Endangering the Existence of the Element  





Names of Informants and Professional Practitioners


Description of Groups – Institutions – Individuals - Practitioners or Participants of the Element

Syndicate for Participants of Folk Creativity

Egyptian Society for Folk Traditions

Organizations that Take Care of the Element/Practitioners; i.e. NGOs, syndicates (if available)

No restrictions.

Restrictions (if available) for Using the Data of the Element

All customary practices are respected.