Monday 18 February 2019

Popular camel festival returns to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, January 7, 2018

The second edition of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival, said to be the world's largest celebration for camels, kicked off in the beginning of the month in the southern desert terrains of Al-Dahna, 120km from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Running from  January 1 – February 1, this year’s spectacle is set to be the most successful yet with an array of entertainment and happenings for all the family.

Thanks to the efforts of custodians King Salman bin Adulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Price and Deputy Prime Minister and General supervisor of the camel club, the total prize money for winning camels has been announced at over SR215 million ($57.2 million).

Steeped in tradition but forward-thinking in its approach, the event will also push the boundaries of technology and creativity to offer a one-of-a-kind, fun filled festival attracting fans from around the globe.

At the heart of the festival is, of course, the much-loved and celebrated camel, reflecting the uniting role the camel has played for the Saudi kingdom and the Gulf throughout history. Known as ‘the ship of the desert’ – over many centuries and still today - camels have become such an integral part of day-to-day life that they have formed part of the region’s personality and pride.

Important in every pillar of society – economically, politically and culturally – camels are not only referred to throughout ancient religious texts and poetry, but are a source of meat, milk, leather and transport. A trading pillar in the Arab world, they have always been a renewable economic resource – making them an essential part of the region’s growth, while reinforcing the tie with tradition.

The month-long King Abdulaziz Camels Festival 2018 will celebrate the crucial role of the camel through an eclectic mix of traditional events, competitions and heritage-focused activities, including new and innovative activations detailed below:

Camel Obedience, Racing and Beauty Competitions
Showcasing the camel’s amazing obedience skills, this competition will look at various components of a camel’s behaviour and sounds including carrying a heavy load to expressing a sense of yearning. Looking at different factors such as the effect that various calling sounds and tones have on the animal’s response will determine the best-behaved camel in the desert.

For the Camel Beauty Contest there will be six colour-based camel categories: al Majahim (Black Camels), al-Wedhah (white camels), al-She’al (yellow camels), al-Suffur (yellow camels with black hump peak), al-Sheqah (reddish white camels) and al-Hommor (red camels with white front legs). Each of the colour-based camels will take part in two parades, with four types of parades in all and three age-based categories. Standards of beauty will be judged from characteristics from the bridge of the nose, to the archangel, to the hock, to the hump.  

Camel Hair Art, Sand Art and Family Friendly Entertainment
Designed for younger festival attendees and families, a series of Camel Hair Art and Sand Art Workshops aim to build the connection between heritage and culture of the desert. Visitors will learn the secrets behind camel hair weaving and be shown how a useful resource it can be.
Sand Art workshops will be a way for younger generations to work with the Arabian Peninsula’s most iconic material, giving them a new perspective on their surroundings. Other workshops include painting, Arabic Calligraphy, traditional Saudi Ardha Dance, drawing, sculpturing, origami, story telling, live Hwair theatre, Ta’aleel Tent and entertainment camp, falconry shows, camel cloth, accessory design and much more.

The Panoramic Dome
This year sees an enthralling installation in the form of a state of the art Panoramic Dome, using the latest technologies to integrate visuals with sound, the dome style theatre will project a series of insightful films. Taking visitors on a trip through past and present history and showcasing a breath-taking film about astronomy and the stars.
The Heritage Market & Sanam Exhibition
For those in search of some more culture take a stroll through the impressive Heritage Market with over 100 setups, the stalls will include heritage and cultural offerings including; leather, perfumes, spices, tents, artisans, tapestries, traditional food and elaborate decorations.

For a sense of the history of the festival and camels, visitors can take a journey through time at the Sanam Exhibition, an engaging exhibition exploring elements and the role of the camel throughout time. From the camels presence in religious texts, mummification, role as the ‘ship of the desert’, to the relationship between humans and the camel.

Historically and still today, camels remain connected to Arabs history and life and are treasured for their special and unique characteristics. Once a main source of transport, a loyal friend, a study worker, a shady support to lean as well as a reliable food resource. Today despite modern urbanisation, camels still remain a great source of pride not only for camel breeders but all Arabs, who recognise camels as icons of Arab heritage, life and economy. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Saudi | festival | Riyadh | King | Arabia | Aziz | camel | Abdul |

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