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PLURALISM, PARADISE AND PALM TREES

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Blog Excerpt by Nalu Tribe Contributor, @The.Global.Local

 

My Instagram Feed is splattered with palms trees. Every time I walk by a palm, I feel compelled to snap a photo to share the character of each plant that I am lucky enough to meet. When I look at Palm Trees, I don’t think of vacation, Florida, nor the city I live… but I see the answers to the world’s problems, to be specific the concept of pluralism. I know it sounds crazy {and maybe it is} but stay with me here as you read along.

 

Pluralism is a concept that differing religions and cultures can coexist and enthusiastically explore one another’s differing viewpoints. So take the word “diversity,” add in some effort, compassion and curiosity and what results is a multicultural community that symbiotically operates to build a unified community, yet preserve one’s own culture and customs.

 

So why palm trees? Palm Trees have a deep rooted symbolism associated with victory, peace, paradise and eternal life. This dates back to the days of Ancient Egypt, where Mesopotamian religions saw the palm tree (aka Phoenix) as a symbol of immortality. In Ancient Greece, Olympians were rewarded for their victories with a palm trophy. By no coincidence all of the big three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, share similar symbolic themes of palms in its religious texts.

 

 

In Christianity, the celebration of Palm Sunday reenacts when Jesus was returning to Jerusalem the Sunday prior to his crucifixion on Good Friday. He was welcomed with people cheering waving palm fronds, causing the “powers that be” to raise their eyebrows about this man causing such a ruckus, ultimately leading to his crucifixion. Palm Sunday is always celebrated one week prior to Easter Sunday.

 

 

In Judaism, the date palm stands as one of the Four Species on the festival of Sukkot, when it is unified with a citron, willow and myrtle. There are two schools of thought on the Four Species: 1) to unify the four types of Jews in service to God, or 2) to unify the four parts of the body identified as the spine, eye, mouth, and heart. Either meaning relate to the Jewish service to God. The date palm’s Hebrew name is lulav, representing the spine. The lulav is said to have a taste, but no scent which represents Jews that study the Torah but do not possess its good deeds.

 

 

In Islam, palm trees are highly associated with paradise and gifts from Allah. For example, palm trees occupy the perimeter of an oasis, which signifies that water is a gift from Allah. Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus under a date palm in the Qur’an. There is also an Arabic saying “Fog El Nakhal” which translates to “above the palm trees” referring to paradise in the afterlife. 

 

So in my view, palm trees symbolize pluralism, paradise, victory, and unity. To me, it’s uplifting when I analyze how the three religions that have been at war since the Muhammad all value my favorite tree. It’s made me realize how much the big 3 faiths have in common, and wonder what else I could share with people that I perceive to be different from me.

 

So I challenge you, next time you feel irritated with somebody, just try to find a common ground. Start with “Hey, palm trees are pretty rad, right?” You may find that your personal antipode might be much more familiar.

 

To view full blog article visit thegloballocal.world

http://thegloballocal.world/post/158754667123/pluralism-paradise-and-palm-trees

 

Photos by @schatzibrown

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