Though Israel’s Memorial Day is perhaps best known for its nationwide moment of honorary silence, the commemoration is also a day for music.
Carmit Levite, cultural contributor for i24NEWS, explained how singing on Memorial Day emerged as a way for Israelis to honor their lost loved ones.
“It actually started… around the 20th century, when the first wave of Jews came to Israel and started building the country from nothing,” she said.
“They would work all day in the fields and build what they could with what they had, and in the evenings, they would sit together and sing songs.
Every Memorial Day, these songs became part of the tradition… to sing and become [a] part of us, so now it's just inseparable.”
These Memorial Day melodies often deal with themes of sorrow and stand as a way to honor lost family members or friends.
“Many, many songs are written by mothers, friends, brothers, about their loved ones as a way to commemorate their loss,” the cultural contributor said.
Singing these songs together to express communal loss is how many Israelis unite to express their grief during Memorial Day.
“I think with such a small country, we only have each other, and the only language that connects all of us is music,” Levite added.
“It’s a source of grief and it's also a source of hope.”
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.