Symbol of Arab culture
Transcending their role as mere sustenance, dates hold great religious significance. In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) considered dates as a superior fruit, with the date palm mentioned 22 times in the Quran.
The date palm’s tall trees have also influenced architectural designs and cultural symbolism and have been immortalised in art, poetry, and literature across the Arabian Peninsula.
In modern times, dates continue to play an important role in the cultures of the Middle East and South Asia, symbolising generosity and gratitude. Dates in various shapes, sizes and colours, some with special fillings, are served to guests in people's homes, at weddings, ceremonies and festivals.
Establishing its significance on a global scale, the date palm and its associated traditions were added to UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2019, following a nomination submitted by 14 countries from the Gulf, the Levant and North Africa, including Saudi Arabia.