The dove with the olive twig recalls the story of God’s promise to Noah after the flood (Genesis 8:11, 22). God will keep the earth from being destroyed. Both the dove and the olive branch today are symbols of peace. The dove also reminds us of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to spread the peace of Christ in our world.
About this Traditional Palestinian Craft
The making of jewellery and decorative items from Mother of Pearl is perhaps Bethlehem’s oldest and most established industry. The practice supposedly came to Bethlehem in the 15th century with the arrival of Franciscan friars. Locals soon mastered the art and made a modest living selling handmade items to the many pilgrims who streamed into Bethlehem. Traditionally, the sea shells and abalone were brought in from the Port of Aqaba on the Red Sea but now they are imported from Australia, California, New Zealand, and Brazil. Palestinian Christians, particularly the Zoughbi family in Bethlehem, have often received international recognition for their mastery of this art form. For more information about the history of Mother of Pearl Carving in Palestine, visit the 2007 publication of “This Week in Palestine”.